Once upon a time the NFL Pro Bowl kinda meant something. Players didn't make the big money they do now, so the extra cash for the winners acted as motivation. And conference pride, to a degree, still mattered.
But over the years, as the money became meaningless and pride waned, the Pro Bowl devolved into a semi-glorified scrimmage, and more recently an outright farce.
So in an effort to generate some interest the NFL has eschewed the conventional AFC/NFC matchup for this year's Pro Bowl and adapted a unique supposed solution; allowing NFL greats Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders to draft teams from a pool of All-Pros, and have them battle it out Sunday at Aloha Stadium out in Honolulu.
Apparently, this is the best idea they could come up with, but it remains to be seen how much NFL football betting will take place in this new format with random rosters.
The Pro Bowl Betting Line
Understandably, this “game” might be a little hard to both line and handicap. Most outlets opened their Pro Bowl betting at a pick'em, with an OVER/UNDER of around 89. In early action the line held steady, while the total was bumped to 90.
The last three Pro Bowls have averaged 98 total points.
Earlier this week Sanders took quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Cam Newton with his first two picks in the Pro Bowl draft.
Rice made New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham and Philadelphia RB LeSean McCoy his first two choices.
Rice's squad also includes Saints QB Drew Brees, Dallas RB DeMarco Murray, Chicago RB Matt Forte, two New Orleans offensive lineman, Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cleveland WR Josh Gordon, Chicago WRs Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, and St. Louis DE Robert Quinn.
Sanders' team also includes Philly QB Nick Foles, Kansas City RB Jamaal Charles, Green Bay RB Eddie Lacy, Washington RB Alfred Morris, Cincy WR AJ Green, Dallas WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten, Houston defensive monster JJ Watt, and Jacksonville LB Paul Posluszny.
Carolina's Ron Rivera will coach Rice's team, while Indy's Chuck Pagano will coach Sanders' team. So Rivera will be going against his own quarterback with the Panthers, one Mr. Newton.
Of course, the rules for the Pro Bowl have changed over the years to neuter the game itself. It's surprising they haven't just put flags on the players and declared “no heavy breathing.”
The league has altered the rules once again for this year's game; among the changes will be no kickoffs, two-minute warnings and change of possessions at the end of every quarter, and a 35-second clock instead of a 40-second clock.
The shorter clock should increase the number of plays from scrimmage, while the elimination of the kickoffs – the offenses will start possessions from their 25-yard lines - might actually enhance field position.
But the lack of kickoffs also deprives Sanders' team of Cordarrelle Patterson's league-best return skills.
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