No football wagering this weekend!! Holy withdrawal symptoms feeling Batman.
But wait, don’t head for the bridge just yet. There is football to wager upon on Sunday. Just not like we are accustomed to.
This year’s 2021 Pro Bowl is going to have a slightly different look than every other Pro Bowl in NFL history. Due to COVID-19, there won't be a game played on the field this year, but there's still going to be a showdown between the NFC and AFC that will happen virtually when the two sides face each other in Madden NFL 21.
Best bet is to scan the list of top sportsbooks to see if they are offering wagering upon this mythical, I mean virtual event. For starters, Bovada has introduced the AFC as solid -220 favorites over the NFC at +155.
The "players" for the AFC team will include NFL Pro Bowlers DeShaun Watson, Derrick Henry, rap superstar Snoop Dogg and retired all-world NFL receiver Keyshawn Johnson. Leading the NFC team will be Pro Bowlers Kyler Murray, Jamal Adams, NASCAR star Bubba Wallace and retired NFL superstar running back Marshawn Lynch.
The live-streamed event coverage will take place on Sunday at 3:00PM ET and be hosted by Charissa Thompson and Michael Strahan while the virtual stream will live on the NFL's official YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook pages along with EA Madden NFL Twitch page. The Madden game itself will begin at 5:00PM ET. Then the NFL Network will show a re-airing at 8:00 PM ET.
The basics here is this will involve the NFL's top players competing against each other using Madden 21 as the software. Each player will participate remotely and will use their own player in Madden 21 to compete.
History of the NFL Pro Bowl
Get any two NFL football fans together and they will find anything to argue or disagree about. One issue that no two NFL football fans have ever disagreed about. Nobody could not care less about the annual NFL Pro Bowl. For even the most hard-core NFL devotee, the game is a forgotten waste of time.
Unlike the Major League Baseball game or even the NBA All-Star game that occur in the middle of their seasons, the Pro Bowl (all-star game) happens at the end of the NFL season. After the playoffs, where there is nothing left to prove or accomplish.
It simply is a reward for the players achievements during the previous NFL season. Also, to assume that one conference, AFC or NFC has superiority or dominance, is ridiculous. Many of the players have played for other conference teams during their careers, often playing on both sides. At least in Major League Baseball, a player may be identified or known as a National League superstar, as an example.
Another giant difference between playing in a Major League baseball game vs. an NFL Pro Bowl is the risk for extended injury. Over the years, several players have said "thanks for the acknowledgement" but given some excuse for bowing out of the game due to the risk of potential injury. Given today’s climate of multi-year million-dollar contracts with injury clauses, you certainly cannot blame them.
Lastly, what happens on the football field is less than memorable. Namely NFL defense. That is why the final scores generally average a total between 60-70 points. It is in bad taste and often bad judgement to level receivers or issue hard out of bounds tackles. Teams and specific NFL players will remember that in the future. The main object of the game is not to win, it is to not get hurt.
What has really sunk the NFL Pro Bowl and embarrassed the NFL is the continual drop in the Nielsen television ratings. Nighttime game shows or any rerun of the The Bachelor would sack the Pro Bowl harder than Joey Bosa or Khalil Mack. Something must be done to get football fans to stay tuned the Sunday before the Super Bowl.
The NFL Pro Bowl "Solution"
I believe the NFL has found its NFL Pro Bowl solution but hasn’t realized it yet. Don't play it.
This year’s virtual game and fine tuning it for a younger demographic is the right thing to do. Here’ why:
First, there is too much at stake to risk even one key injury at the end of the NFL season for any team to risk their property. Absolutely no reward whatsoever with not much financial gain for the player to risk either, considering their stake.
Although the NFL refuses to publicly admit it, more US states are accepting football wagering as a norm and watching more television commercials promoting it than Coke and Pepsi. A virtual game with increased wagering potential and promotion involving types football betting adds to ratings.
With Snoop Dogg added to join the well-known NFL superstars for this virtual event it should be highly entertaining. He added these comments in a press release:
“We’ll be takin’ the Pro Bowl to the virtual world of Madden this weekend and I can’t wait to do it big with football fans in my favorite game. I’m a Madden NFL star. so Kyler and Marshawn better watch out, my team is comin’ in to win that championship title for the AFC”.
With the Dogg's $$ record, I suggest checking out the list of top sportsbooks this Sunday for the best price on the AFC. Till then, I guess I’ll have my mind on my money and my money on my mind, sippin’ on that gin n juice . . .
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.