If anyone had been brave enough, or crazy enough, to put up a prop on the New Orleans losing another NFL Playoff game on a bad pass interference no call, the odds would have been astronomically high; but it happened, again.

Last year Saints fans and many sports writers howled indignation at the missed PI call that ended the Saints playoff hopes, after the game on Sunday this year the Saints sidelines seemed to be in a state of shock.  What just happened? No way! How? Why us, again?

But the final game winning 4 yard touchdown play from Kirk Cousins to Kyle Rudolph was reviewed by the officials and the TD stood, and the game was over.  So were the hopes and dreams of a New Orleans team that has been on the short end of the stick on too many of these situations for too long now.

Former NFL Referee Terry McAulay, who was the officiating crew chief at 3 Super Bowls, tweeted, “It is illegal for an offensive player to extend his arm or arms and create clear separation from the defender. That was Offensive Pass Interference or OPI”.

But the final decision on the play was made after review by the NFL’s Vice President of Officiating, Al Riveron, who defended his call by stating in his report, “There is contact by both players, but none of that contact rises to the level of a foul.  This is consistent with what we’ve done all year long, we left the ruling on the field.  We let it stand”.

Key to the non-call was the fact that the pass was ruled a touchdown on the field and as such required unequivocal evidence to overturn.  Such is the rule and custom of NFL officials these days, and it’s probably a good one.

A Monday morning review of the film reveals that Kyle Rudolph did, if fact, clearly extend his arm to keep Saints cornerback P.J. Williams away from the ball.  Power running back Dalvin Cook had been stopped short of the goal on the first two attempts from the four yard line, so, the 3rd down play was the Vikings last shot at a game winning TD before kicking a field goal and giving the ball back to Drew Brees.

Now Kirk Cousins was clearly the hero of the day.  He threw for 63 yards in the overtime period and moved the ball from their own 25 yard line to the Saints 2, then a swarming Saints defense stuffed Cook twice before Cousins threw the controversial TD pass that ended the game with a victory for the Minnesota Vikings and head coach Mike Zimmer.

So the Saints are out of the NFL Playoffs once again and a bitterly disappointed bunch of fans in New Orleans and all around the State of Louisiana will have to swallow the loss and put their hopes and dreams, once again, on Drew Brees, Sean Payton and next year.

The Vikings will next travel out to Santa Clara, California to take on a well rested San Francisco 49er team as 6.5 point underdogs, the winners to advance to the NFC Playoff game and face the winners of the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers game, which will most likely be played in much harsher, and colder, conditions up on the frozen tundra of northern Wisconsin than the Vikes will face against the 49ers out in sunny California!


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On New Year’s Day, 2020, three of the four big bowl games featured an SEC team which was favored to win the game. Of course the winners of the SEC Title this year are the LSU Tigers, which will go up against head coach Dabo Swinney and his Clemson Tigers, once again as the favorites to win the CFP Championship on January 13th in New Orleans by 5.5 points.

Coach Nick Saban would surely rather have been at home in Alabama awaiting participation in the national championship game, but losses to LSU and Auburn this season pushed the Crimson Tide all the way down to number 13 in the CFP rankings and relegated them to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando to take on the number 14 ranked Michigan Wolverines as 7.5 point favorites.

The first half of the game was close and hard fought with Michigan holding a slim 16-14 lead at halftime, but the Tide rolled in the second half by scoring 21 points while shutting out the Wolverines.  Alabama won the game and covered the spread by a final score of 35-16, but the anticipated over & under of 61 only made it to 51.

Just down the road in Tampa, Florida, the Outback Bowl pitted an overachieving Minnesota Gopher team as 7 point underdogs to yet another SEC powerhouse, the Auburn Tigers, coming off a victory over archrival Alabama. But it was the day of the Gophers and mighty Auburn was upset by a final score of 31-24.  Las Vegas oddsmakers almost hit this over & under right on the money, they posted 54, the final scores totaled 55!

This year’s Rose Bowl not only provided a perfect setting with perfect weather, it also produced a really good, nonstop action type football game between the number 6 ranked Ducks of Oregon and the number 8 ranked Wisconsin Badgers out in sunny Pasadena, California.  The Badgers went into the game as 3.5 point favorites with the over & under set at 52 points.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who was in this year’s Heisman Trophy discussion, took the game on his shoulders and stiff armed his way into the end zone late in the fourth quarter to secure the slim one point victory for the Ducks by a final score of 28-27.

Down in New Orleans at the Sugar Bowl, the number 5 ranked Georgia Bulldogs, whom many had thought should have been the number 4 team in the CFP finals, took on the number 7 ranked Baylor Bears as representatives of the SEC as 3.5 point favorites, but the oddsmakers under estimated this one as the Bulldogs dominated the Sugar Bowl all evening long and gave credence to the idea that four teams are enough team for the CFP final tournament.  Georgia could have competed, but the competition fell off swiftly after that.  The Bulldogs won the game and covered the spread by a final score of 26-14.

The resurgent Kentucky Wildcats finished off a rare winning season by beating a very good Virginia Tech team on New Year’s Eve by a final score of 37-30 on a late touchdown pass from quarterback Lynn Bowden. The Wildcats went into the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina as 2 point underdogs to the Hokies. The 67 total points scored far exceeded the posted over & under of 47 in the game.

The Orange Bowl from Miami Gardens, Florida was played on December 30th this year and featured the number 9 ranked Florida Gators taking on the number 24 ranked Virginia Cavaliers as huge 16 point favorites. The line turned out to be a bit too huge as the Cavaliers put up a tough challenge for the Gators, who did win the game, but did not cover.  Final score Gators 36- UVA 28 and the game went over the posted 56 over & under by 8 points.



The teams, dates, times and venues are set for one of the most anticipated weekends on the NFL schedule when everything is on the line in one game, winner take all, loser go home. They call it the ‘Wild Card Weekend’.

The two teams with the best overall records, based on win percentages, get to rest up on Wild Card Weekend.  They call it a ‘first round bye’, which means that the 4 teams with the best records will be home watching Wild Card Weekend on TV and evaluating their future competition.  Obviously first round bye is a coveted position to be in, not only for the rest, but for the chance to observe the teams that you will be facing when you do take the field on the following weekend.

In the AFC, or the American Football Conference, the two top teams at the end of regular season play were the Baltimore Ravens with a 14-2 record and the Kansas City Chiefs at 12-4. They are the number one and number two seeds respectively in the playoffs.

The New England Patriots, falling out of their usual placement as a first round bye after losing inexplicably to the Miami Dolphins in the last game of the regular season, are the number 3 seed and must face a tough Tennessee Titans team that just managed to sneak into the playoffs as the 6th seed in the AFC.

The Titans will go to Foxborough, Mass. to face Tom Brady and his 3rd seed   Patriots for the evening game on Saturday as 5.5 underdogs with the over & under being set at 43.5.  The winners of this game will have to travel to Baltimore next and take on the NFL leading Ravens in the divisional playoffs.

The early game on Saturday will take place between the number 4 seeded Houston Texans who will host the number 5 seed Buffalo Bills down in Houston as 3 point favorites with the over & under being set at 41.5. The winners will take on a well rested Kansas City Chiefs team on Sunday January 12th at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

Over in the NFC, or National Football Conference, the San Francisco 49ers, the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints all ended up with the same overall record of 13 wins and 3 losses. The seeding is then determined by head-to-head matchups between the teams concerned.

As the 49ers defeated the Saints in the waning weeks of the regular season, San Francisco became the number one seed and the Saints fell to the number three seed and missed the first round bye they had previously anticipated.

Green Bay is the number 2 seed in the NFC and will enjoy the first round bye this year while the Saints will host the number 6 seed Minnesota Vikings, with whom the Saints already have a colorful history, in the early game on Sunday Jan. 5 in New Orleans as 7.5 point favorites, the largest spread being offered for Wild Card Weekend. The over & under in that one is 47.5 points.

Whoever comes out on top between the Saints and the Vikings will next travel all the way out to San Francisco to take on the 49ers coming off their first round bye week.  At least the weather should not be too much of a factor in sunny Santa Clara.

The last contest of Wild Card Weekend will take place in Philadelphia as the Eagles, who finished as the number 4 seed, will welcome in the number 5 seeded Seattle Seahawks who are favored in the game by 1.5 points. The over & under for the Seahawks and Eagles game is at an even 46 points.

The lucky winners of the Seattle-Philadelphia game will then get to travel up to the frozen tundra in the wilds of Wisconsin and take on the number 2 seed Green Bay Packers, probably in the cold and snow, in the conference playoffs.

In an interesting side note, all of the Wild Card Weekend games and Conference playoff games, with the exception of Houston and New Orleans, will be played in open, outdoor stadiums in the winter time.  So, bundle up, make your bets and hang on for a couple of weeks of prime NFL action.



This year’s semifinal lineup is a good argument to leave the College Football Playoffs at four teams because, outside of the chosen four, there are in reality no other teams that can compete with them. After the first quarter had expired in the LSU-Oklahoma game, it was down to three.

The games leading up to the semi-finals were competitive and entertaining for the most part but didn’t count for much if you were not a fan of one of the participating universities. They were fun, and that’s what holiday bowls should be.

Of course, for those who just can’t resist wagering on college football games, it was a veritable bonanza on betting opportunities.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars were won or lost on straight wagers, parlays and teasers every day there were multiple bowl games on the TV.

When it finally came down to the Saturday of the semi-final games, the Ohio State-Clemson game became the most wagered college football game in history.  Nobody could agree on which team should actually be favored for the contest, but everybody wanted in on the action.

Not many bettors backed Oklahoma against LSU, even giving them 13.5 points didn’t sweeten that bet enough to top the attractions of the evening bill.

For the Tigers from Baton Rouge, playing a game in Atlanta was practically like a home game, after all the SEC title game was just won by those same LSU Tigers a couple of weeks before, in the same building. As luck would have it the CFP Championship Game this year will be played at the Super Dome in New Orleans. Once again, practically a home game for the Bayou Bengals.

LSU faithful had already purchased tickets to the Championship Game even before LSU faced and defeated Oklahoma.  Faith is not something that is lacking in south Louisiana this football season. Coach O will part the waters and Joe ‘Burreaux’ will race out on a Purple & Gold chariot to save the day.

When halftime rolled around at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon, Joe Burrow had already thrown seven (7) touchdown passes in guiding his Tigers to an insurmountable 49-14 lead over an out matched Oklahoma Sooner team.

Just a few days before participating in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, both Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, who transferred from Alabama, and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who transferred from Ohio State, were on stage in New York for the annual Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Of course Joe Burrow won the coveted award by a landslide vote.  The first people he thanked were the guys who have been catching his passes all season, which was an interesting twist.  Then Mom and Dad.  Then Coach Ed Orgeron.  It was an emotional moment for all.  The LSU Tigers were undefeated in 2019, and so was Joe Burrow.

But the late game on Saturday at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona between the undefeated #3 ranked Clemson Tigers as 2.5 point underdogs to the mighty #2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes drew bettors from across the land to make their picks and take their chances, and a game of chance is what it turned out to be.

In contract to the Peach Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl was close at half time with Ohio State leading Clemson 16-14 and the contest remained close all the way down to the final minutes.  Those 2.5 points could have gone either way on several occasions down on the football field.

But the Clemson Tigers had won two of the last three national titles, even beating Nick Saban and Alabama, and they were full of confidence and swagger.  Critics claimed all season that Clemson did not face the high level of competition in the ACC that other top ranked teams went up against, but last Saturday night they faced one of the most talented teams in the land.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was up on the podium at the Heisman Trophy ceremony along with Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts.  Clemson sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence will most likely be up there next year, unless he is drafted in the first or second round by the NFL this year.

So the featured showdown in the CFP Championship game will be between Joe Burrow of the LSU Tigers (-5.5) and Trevor Lawrence of the Clemson Tigers, once again the underdogs. Bettors can look forward to having an abundance of props to wager on when these two very special rare talents take the field in New Orleans for the big game on Monday evening January 13th.

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