Football bettors will get a chance to warm up for Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday as the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl kicks off at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
The NFL will stay away from the NFC vs. AFC format for the Pro Bowl once again this season, with alumni captains Cris Carter and Michael Irvin drafting the two teams.
Last year, in the inaugural ‘unconferenced’ Pro Bowl, the team selected by Jerry Rice topped the team selected by Deion Sanders 22-21 at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was the MVP on offense, while Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson was the MVP on defense.
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Irvin and Carter were each given two assistant player captains for the game to help with the draft, with Irvin getting Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray and Browns cornerback Joe Haden and Carter getting Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Players from the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, who will be competing in next weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX, won’t be participating in the Pro Bowl. Quarterbacks Peyton Manning of the Broncos, Aaron Rodgers of the Packers, and Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers were all selected for the game but will not participate.
Here are the top offensive players for the two 2015 Pro Bowl teams for Sunday’s matchup . . .
Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)
Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)
Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals)
Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs)
Justin Forsett (Baltimore Ravens)
Alfred Morris (Washington Redskins
Marcel Reece (Oakland Raiders)
Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers)
A.J. Green (Cincinnati Bengals)
T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis Colts)
Jordy Nelson (Green Bay Packers)
Martellus Bennett (Chicago Bears)
Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers)
Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys)
Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions)
Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)
DeMarco Murray (Dallas Cowboys)
Mark Ingram (New Orleans Saints)
C.J. Anderson (Denver Broncos)
John Kuhn (Green Bay Packers)
Odell Beckham Jr. (New York Giants)
Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers)
Emmanuel Sanders (Denver Broncos)
Golden Tate (Detroit Lions)
Jimmy Graham (New Orleans Saints)
Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys)
Team Rice will be taking on Team Sanders in the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu as the league’s annual all-star game undergoes a format change that does away with the AFC vs. NFC battle from years past.
Instead of pitting conference vs. conference, this year’s Pro Bowl teams were selected by ‘alumni team captains’ Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders on Wednesday night, fantasy-draft style.
Team Rice, which started out with Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Rams defensive end Robert Quinn on their roster, went with Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, and Browns cornerback Joe Haden as their first three picks.
Team Sanders, which had Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and Texans defensive end J.J. Watt on their roster to start, used their first three picks of the fantasy draft on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, and Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Along with Luck and Newton, Team Sanders also has the Eagles’ Nick Foles on their roster to round out their quarterbacks. Other notable Team Sanders members include Packers running back Eddie Lacy, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Team Rice has the Chiefs’ Alex Smith and the Chargers’ Philip Rivers to back up Brees at quarterback on Sunday, with Bears running back Matt Forte, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez also on the roster.
The AFC surged to a win over the NFC in their annual clash last season, and they’ll be looking to pay off on the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl betting odds at the sportsbooks once again on Sunday as the conferences clash on the gridiron at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.
It’s the NFC, however, that’s pegged as the 2.5-point favorite on the Pro Bowl odds right now, with totals bettors looking at a typically high OVER/UNDER of 84 points for the game.
Last year the AFC and NFC combined to score 100 points in a 59-41 AFC victory in Honolulu. The conferences put up 28 points apiece in the first half of that matchup before the AFC tagged on 31 more points in the second half to seal the victory in that game.
High-scoring games are always the norm at the Pro Bowl. In 2011 the NFC won 55-41, while the AFC picked up a 41-34 victory in 2010, and the NFC won 30-21 in a game with a relatively modest output in 2009. The NFC was also a 42-30 winner back in 2008.
Overall the AFC and NFC have each won the Pro Bowl 21 times, with both conferences earning two victories at the game over the past four years. The last time a conference won two Pro Bowl games in a row was when the NFC did it in 2008 and 2009. The AFC hasn’t won two consecutive Pro Bowl games since they picked up three victories in a row in the contest in 2001, 2002, and 2003.
The QBs for the AFC at the Pro Bowl this year are the Broncos’ Peyton Manning, the Texans’ Matt Schaub, and the Colts’ Andrew Luck, with the Patriots’ Tom Brady dropping out of the contest.
The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, the Falcons’ Matt Ryan, and the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III were selected as the quarterbacks for the NFC for the Pro Bowl, but none of them will play in the game. The Saints’ Drew Brees, the Giants’ Eli Manning, and the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson will take their places on the roster.
As well, the 15 combined members of the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers who were selected for the Pro Bowl won’t play in the game as their teams prepare for Super Bowl XLVII the following week. Kickoff for the Pro Bowl is set for 7:00pm ET on Sunday night.
The AFC and the NFC will meet on the gridiron in Hawaii on Sunday for the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl in the second-to-last NFL betting event of the season.
The NFC is currently a 4-point favorite, and the total is currently set at 73.5. While this is obviously a high total by ordinary football standards, the Pro Bowl almost always tends to be a high-scoring affair; each of the last two Pro Bowls have had at least 75 points of total scoring, and the total has gone OVER in 10 of the last 12 Pro Bowls.
The NFC currently holds a 21-20 straight up edge in 41 Pro Bowls all time. The AFC has won nine of the last 15 Pro Bowls, but the game may be shifting back towards the NFC as the NFC is 3-1 SU and ATS over the last four Pro Bowls.
At the skill positions on offense the NFC seems to have a pretty decent edge over the AFC. At quarterback, with Tom Brady out (for the Super Bowl), the AFC has Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, and Philip Rivers; a respectable bunch, but not nearly as strong as the NFC’s Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Cam Newton (Newton is in for Eli Manning, who is out for the Super Bowl).
The AFC does have the NFL’s leading rusher in Maurice Jones-Drew, but with Arian Foster and Ray Rice out due to injury their depth takes a hit with Willis McGahee and Ryan Mathews filling in. The NFC’s backfield features LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, and Marshawn Lynch; McCoy led the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 17 while Lynch was tied for second among running backs with 12.
At wide receiver, the AFC will start A.J. Green and Mike Wallace with Vincent Jackson filling in for Wes Welker (out for the Super Bowl) on the bench. The NFC will start Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Smith with Roddy White filling in for the injured Calvin Johnson on the bench.