Eddie Lacy well on his way to 2013 NFL Rookie of the Year

eddie-lacy-rookie-of-the-yearWhen the 2013 NFL season began, Montee Ball and Tavon Austin were the favorites in terms of betting odds for the Rookie of the Year award. We at GTBets.eu had both players at 9/2 odds of winning the award. Eddie Lacy, on the other hand, was only in the middle range as far as odds went.

Nevertheless, the bruising running back from the Green Bay Packers is well on his way towards the 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year. With two games remaining in the season, Lacy has 1,048 rushing yards on 248 carries (4.1 YPC). He’s also reached the end zone 8 times and has added 31 catches for 236 yards. But while Lacy’s stats may be impressive, what really sets him apart from other candidates is his performances in big games.

Last Sunday’s contest against the Dallas Cowboys was a perfect example of this. With the Packers needing a win to stay in the NFC North title race, they got a giant boost from their rookie ball carrier. Lacy racked up 141 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 21 carries. What’s especially noteworthy about this game is that the 230-pounder was playing on a tender ankle.

eddie-lacy-rookie-of-the-year-1Thanks in large part to Lacy’s gritty performance, the Packers are now just a half game behind Chicago for the NFC North title. Seeing as how they get a crack at Chicago on the final week of the season, it’s entirely possible that Green Bay could win the division and go to the playoffs. But even if they don’t, Eddie Lacy is still looking like the favorite to win the 2013 Rookie of the Year.

So who’s his main competition at this point? Well, it appears that San Diego wide receiver Keenan Allen is the only player who can capture the award. Allen has hauled in 63 passes for 923 yards and 7 TD’s, which is no doubt an impressive campaign. Plus his team still has a shot at the postseason since San Diego is sitting at 7-7.

With both players fairly similar in terms of offensive production, what may ultimately set these two apart is how they rank relative to their positions. Lacy easily wins the battle here because he’s ranked 7th among running backs in rushing yards. Meanwhile, Allen’s 923 receiving yards only place him 21st among the league’s wideouts.

It’s also worth mentioning that Lacy has had to shoulder his team’s offensive load in the absence of Aaron Rodgers. Sure Matt Flynn has had his moments, but it’s Lacy creating for his fill-in quarterback, not the other way around. Contrast this to Allen, who’s often overshadowed by the guy throwing him the ball, Philip Rivers.

Of course, the ROY race could easily be determined by which one of these teams makes the playoffs too. But for the moment, it looks like Lacy has the inside track towards being the league’s best offensive rookie.

Ravens, Broncos kick off 2013 NFL Season Tonight

broncos-ravensThe 2013 NFL season is here as the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens kick the season off tonight (September 5th) at 8:30 ET. Last year saw the Ravens pull of a shocker after they beat Denver 38-35 in a Divisional Playoffs round. And this was only a prelude to Baltimore’s even more surprising run to the Super Bowl title.

But this is a new year, and the Ravens are a very different team. We recently broke down their chances of repeating as Super Bowl champions, and we think that it’s going to be a long shot. This especially the case when you consider that their team changed so much over the summer. For this reason, GTBets.eu has the betting line on tonight’s game as follows:

Baltimore  (-115)  Over 48.5 (-110)
Denver -7.5 (-105)  Under 48.5 (-110)

With Denver being over a touchdown favorite tonight, they are definitely expected to win. But before you make a bet, you might want to check out our analysis of the matchup.

Preview of Denver for Tonight’s Game

peyton-manningThe Broncos are fairly large favorites on our line mainly because they’re playing at home, and this team returns so much talent. In regard to the latter, quarterback Peyton Manning headlines the returners after a season in which he threw for 4,659 yards with 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

His receiving corp is going to be a huge factor tonight as well. Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are coming back after finishing 1-2 on the team in receiving. Wes Welker is a new addition to Denver as he came to them via New England in the offseason. After posting numbers of 1,354 yards and 6 touchdowns, he’s ready to step in and contribute immediately.

The Broncos running game is more of a question mark entering this year. As a team, they averaged 114.5 rushing YPG, which ranked 16th in the league. In an effort to boost their ground attack, Denver drafted Wisconsin standout Montee Ball in the second round, but he’s going to share touches with Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno to open the year. So it’s anybody’s guess as to how things will turn out in this first regular season contest.

This team will have more questions on the other side of the ball after losing DE Elvis Dumervil to a delayed fax in the offseason and LB Von Miller to a six-game suspension. These players combined for 29.5 sacks last year, so their absence will really hurt Denver’s pass rush tonight. Plus cornerback Champ Bailey will miss this game too. However, they still have interior lineman Terrance Knighton and Kevin Vickerson plugging the middle as well as new addition Shaun Phillips rushing the outside.

Preview of Baltimore for Tonight’s Game

joe-flaccoJoe Flacco returns under center after inking a massive 6-year, $120 million deal this past offseason. Flacco’s incredible playoff run earned him this money, as he tossed 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in the postseason. Now everybody wants to know if he can look just as impressive in the regular season.

He won’t be helped by the fact that receiver Anquan Boldin went to the San Francisco 49ers. But at least Flacco will still have Torrey Smith to throw to, who collected 98 yards and two TD’s in the last meeting between these squads. Running back Ray Rice will be a huge key to this game as well. He picked up 1,143 rushing yards and 478 receiving yards in 2012.

Most of the uncertainty regarding Baltimore stems from their losses on defense. Safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard, linebackers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe, and cornerback Cary Williams all went to other teams through free agency. Plus franchise linebacker Ray Lewis retired after winning his second Super Bowl.

But the Ravens did do their best to reload by picking up Dumervil, Chris Canty, Marcus Spears, Daryl Smith and Michael Huff during the offseason. This group will have to gel fast if they want to stop Manning and the Broncos vaunted passing game tonight.

2013 NFL Prop Bets: Denard Robinson running Wildcat for Jaguars

denard-robinson-wildcatRookie Denard Robinson doesn’t have a set position on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster. In fact, it’s still unclear exactly where he’ll play on the field when the 2013-14 NFL season starts. Despite this consideration, Robinson will no doubt make an impact on offense – especially now that he’s running the Wildcat.

The former University of Michigan quarterback was seen taking snaps in Jacksonville’s Wildcat package earlier this week. Robinson did everything from hand off to RB Maurice Jones-Drew to throwing completions and running himself out of the formation. Given his versatility, it’s no wonder why the speedster is listed under “Offensive Weapon” (OW) on the Jacksonville roster.

If you’re interested in making any 2014 NFL prop bets, Robinson might be a good pick to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. GTBets.eu currently has him listed at 12-to-1 odds of winning, which isn’t tremendously far off leaders Montee Ball (DEN) and Tavon Austin (STL), who are both sitting at 9-to-2 odds of winning.

But even with the hype that he’s being given in the betting world and press, there’s still work to be done before Robinson is a polished Wildcat star. Head coach Gus Bradley alluded to this when he discussed ball security issues in recent organized team activities.

“We did it in OTAs, and a couple of times, he ran the ball and fumbled the ball and he didn’t know how to pitch.” Bradley added, “We’re not going to give up on that. (Offensive coordinator) Jedd’s (Fisch) philosophy is to get it in the playmaker’s hands, and we want to see if he’s a playmaker and the threat he can give us.”

denard-robinson-wildcat-1In addition to doing Wildcat plays, there’s a strong chance that Robinson could be returning kickoffs and/or punts. So the options seem endless with this rookie, especially given how badly Jacksonville needs playmakers.

Despite being just a fifth round pick, the 6-foot, 200-pounder could end up making the biggest impact of any Jacksonville rookie. Robinson runs a 4.35 forty and has shown a nice array of skills, from catching passes to throwing them.

After setting multiple records at Michigan, including 502 total offensive yards against Notre Dame in 2010, Robinson appears ready to impress at the next level. The only question is if he can succeed in a Jacksonville offense that lacks any weapons beyond WR Justin Blackmon and Jones-Drew.

The quarterback situation is ugly, with Blaine Gabbert competing against Chad Henne for the starting job. Depending upon how this situation develops, we might see the Jaguars utilize Robinson in the Wildcat quite often, much like the Miami Dolphins did with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams in 2008.

Once again, if you’re looking to make some prop bets before the NFL season starts, you might give Denard Robinson a look in the Offensive Rookie of the Year category.

Biggest Stories from 2013 NFL Draft Combine

manti-teo-nfl-combineNFL head coaches and GM’s recently got a nice look at the top prospects from the 2013 NFL Draft class. And as usual, certain players shined at the 2013 NFL Combine while others hurt their stock with disappointing performances. That said, let’s check out some players who excelled and those who failed to impress at this year’s NFL Combine.

1. Manti Te’o provides more Questions than Answers with 40 Time

To nobody’s surprise, Manti Te’o was the biggest story of the Combine because of the press conference/interview he underwent. And Te’o did a solid job of answering all of the questions about the online girlfriend hoax surrounding him. Unfortunately, he left plenty of answers on the field after running a slower-than-expected 4.82 forty-yard dash. Entering this year, many people expected Te’o to be a top 10 pick. But following the uninspiring 40 time, it’s debatable as to if he’ll be selected in the second round.

2. Injured CB Dee Milliner comes though at the Combine

Nobody would’ve blamed Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner for not running the 40-yard dash. After all, he has a torn labrum that needs surgery, and it couldn’t be comfortable sprinting with this kind of shoulder pain. Nevertheless, he came out and ran a 4.37 forty, which tied him for sixth place. What’s more is that he should easily be the first cornerback taken as well as a top five overall pick.

star-lotulelei3. DT Star Lotulelei not cleared to participate

One of the most notable exclusions from the 2013 Combine activities was Star Lotulelei. The Utah defensive tackle’s stock had been rapidly propelling in recent weeks, and some experts thought that he might end up being among the top five picks. However, Lotulelei’s world came crashing down when an echocardiogram revealed that his left ventricle wasn’t pumping enough blood. The question now is if this is a serious issue, or just a minor heart problem arising from extreme weight loss over the past few days.

4. Running Backs and Quarterbacks fail to impress

Every year, there’s an emphasis on running backs and QB’s for the obvious reason that these are major impact positions. However, the 2013 NFL Draft class is particularly weak at these spots, and there’ll be few first rounders among football’s two marquee positions. Running back is especially thin, geno-smithwhere Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (4.63 forty), Oklahoma State’s Joseph Randle (4.63 forty) and Giovani Bernard (4.53 forty) didn’t exactly show breakaway speed. As for quarterbacks, West Virginia’s Geno Smith figures to be a mid-first rounder while NC State’s Mike Glennon may be the only other first round QB pick.

5. The Number One Overall Pick is Anybody’s Guess

Outside of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, there wasn’t much debate about who the top players were in last year’s draft. However, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will be called up to the podium first in April. Many thought that Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel could be selected number one by the Chiefs; however, his sorry 5.3 forty time leaves some doubts. Alabama guard Chance Warmack is also in this position because a 5.41 forty hasn’t done him much justice. Other potential top picks include Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson, Alabama CB Dee Milliner, Brigham Young DE Ziggy Ansah, Oregon DE Dion Jordan and LSU DT Sheldon Richardson.

Come April 25th, we’ll finally get some answers to burning questions like where Te’o will be drafted, who the number one pick is going to be, and if the QB’s and running backs will have any significant impact in the 2013 Draft.

College Football Power Rankings for Nov. 15th, 2012

Just when it looked like nobody would tarnish Alabama’s undefeated season, they drop a stunner to Texas A&M and send our power rankings into a frenzy. Okay, so it’s not that much of a frenzy because three other top unbeatens survived another week without losing. However, it sure was interesting finding a spot for both Alabama and Texas A&M following last week’s upset.

1. Oregon (10-0) – The rest of the season is going to get tougher for Oregon because of both injuries and their schedule (Stanford, Oregon St., Pac-12 South champ). But for right now, we can firmly say that the Ducks are the best team in college football after a stomping of Cal.

Last Game: 59-17 win over California
Next Game: vs. Stanford

2. Kansas State (10-0) – After an injury scare with QB Collin Klein, the Wildcats appear to be alright since their top playmaker took the field against TCU. Seeing as how their defense keeps shutting down opponents, Kansas State is perfectly balanced on both sides of the ball.

Last Game: 23-10 win over TCU
Next Game: at Baylor

3. Notre Dame (10-0) – There’s no beauty in the way Notre Dame wins each week. But the key is that they do win each week thanks to a dominating defense. Assuming either Oregon or Kansas State loses before the end of the regular season, the Irish could be playing in the national title game.

4. Alabama (9-1) – Based on their performance through the first nine games of the year, we can’t drop the Tide too low following a single loss. But with the season nearing an end and three undefeated teams still left, Alabama may be left out of the national title picture.

Last Game: 29-24 loss to Texas A&M
Next Game: vs. Western Carolina

5. Georgia (9-1) – The Bulldogs look poised to meet Alabama in the SEC Championship game if they can get through their next two games unscathed. Depending upon how things go with the unbeatens, the SEC Championship could decide who goes to the BCS title game.

Last Game: 38-0 win over Auburn
Next Game: vs. Georgia Southern

6. Texas A&M (8-2) – Following an extremely tough road win at Bryant-Denny Stadium, some might argue that the Aggies should be ranked ahead of Alabama. However, we’re already stretching things enough by ranking A&M over two teams that beat them earlier (LSU and Florida). In any case, congratulations to the Aggies for their HUGE win!

Last game: 29-24 win over Alabama
Next game: vs. Sam Houston State

7. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0) – Despite being undefeated at this point, many experts are putting Ohio State down as an underdog against Wisconsin this Saturday. It could all come down to how well OSU linebackers Etienne Sabino and Ryan Shazier can shut down Montee Ball and the Badgers run game.

Last game: 52-22 win over Illinois
Next Game: at Wisconsin

8. LSU (8-2) – Unfortunately for LSU, there’ll be no BCS or SEC Championship games in the near future. However, they could certainly land an at-large BCS bowl bid by winning their final two games against Ole Miss and Arkansas. Sure this is no slam dunk, but we definitely like the Tigers chances.

Last Game: 37-17 win over Mississippi State
Next Game: vs. Ole Miss

9. Oklahoma (7-2) – Earlier in the year, it looked as if the upcoming Oklahoma-West Virginia game would have national title implications. But now it’ll merely be a game between two good teams. Actually, the Sooners are a VERY good team which is why we definitely like them to win on the road.

Last Game: 42-34 win over Baylor
Next Game: at West Virginia

10. Florida State (9-1) – The Seminoles aren’t getting much respect outside of the ACC since many experts don’t even consider them a top 10 team. However, we like them better than the fellow 9-1 Florida Gators, which have looked terrible in three straight games. Back to FSU, it’s sad that they aren’t really playing for a chance at the national title with just one loss. But they can still get an at-large BCS bid and beat up on another major conference to prove their point.