Lock’em Or Leave’em: Our Predictions For 2014 NFL Pro Bowl

Above: Richard Sherman makes the game-winning interception last Sunday
Above: Richard Sherman makes the game-winning interception last Sunday

Tough break last weekend, taking us to 22-11 on the season. Let’s make some of that back and cash in on a little bit of easy money for the always entertaining, rarely competitive Pro Bowl weekend!

Lock’em

Only one game this weekend, which gives you two Lock’ems and zero Leave’ems. Currently, we don’t have a posted total for Pro Bowl 2014 and most sportsbooks are pitting the game as a pick’em. Before we examine where your money should be and give you those two locks, let’s take a look at the Pro Bowl changes from previous years.

As usual, the Pro Bowl takes place the Sunday before the Super Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. However, we don’t have the usual AFC vs. NFC showdown. Instead, we’ve got a more entertaining draft with NFL Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders at the helm.

Another interesting change-up defence can now play Cover 2 and press defences, instead of man-to-man coverage. Ultimately, defences don’t matter in the Pro Bowl game. We won’t be seeing any heavy hits, as injuring a player is a severe no-no. Kick-offs are also gone, and possession will change at the end of every quarter.

Why, you ask, have the powers that be changed the game so drastically? For years, many have said the Pro Bowl is a waste of time. Players are awarded for being on the winning team, but it’s mere chump change compared to some of their Rock Star salaries. On Sunday, we should see a much more well-played, action-packed game than previous years.

Let’s look at the weather. As of post, we’re looking at +25 with a chance of rain. Coming from the Polar Vortex temperatures most players have had to deal with in the past month, I’d expect that means excellent offensive lines with lots of passing.

Now let’s examine the draft. My guess is that the winning team comes down to who is under centre. Team Rice has drafted Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Philip Rivers, while Team Sanders grabbed Cam Newton, Nick Foles and Andrew Luck. I don’t see a lot of rushing, which means that Team Rice has the advantage since Foles is No. 2 in passing, Rivers is No. 3, and Brees is No. 5.

Although it looks like Sanders has the edge offensively with extreme weapons on running back and wide receiver, my gut says Rice has the better stack with the better chosen centres.

Defence? Who cares about defence.

Now for the lock. Bettors, lock in Team Rice. With the changes in game play, Lock in the under as well. Yes, I know the total isn’t posted yet, but I’m assuming a high in the 50’s or low 60’s. With the rain and recent rule changes, we should see a score go under whatever the odds-makers post. If you want to play-it-safe this weekend, grab Team Rice, add the under, and tease both 7 points.

Got a lock? Leave it in the comments below. Totally against our predictions? We’d love to hear from you! May you be among winners this weekend!

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Jeff Bjarnarson

As cliche as it sounds, Jeff Bjarnarson is a jack of all (fun) trades. Growing up in rural Manitoba, Jeff moved to Toronto 3 years ago to carve more footsteps on this planet and broaden his horizons. He finds enjoyment diving into digital strategy with clients at Stone Canoe, a digital shop on Queen West; pushing his physical limits as a participant in this year’s Agency Wars, and most recently, being elected to Business Insider‘s “50 Sexiest Advertising Executives Alive” list, which he humbly accepted. For fun, Jeff eats, breathes, and sleeps NFL football.

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