Cardinals, Patriots enter playoffs as Super Bowl odds favorites

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The Arizona Cardinals saw their nine-game straight-up winning streak end with a 36-6 loss to Seattle in their season finale, but the loss has had little impact on their Super Bowl betting line which remains at 9/2 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Despite scoring a season-low six points against Seattle, the 13-3 Cardinals enter the postseason with the NFL’s top offense, averaging 30.6 points per game, and had surrendered just 12.2 points per game in five contests prior to last weekend’s defeat according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

Arizona is joined atop the Super Bowl odds by the 12-4 New England Patriots, who also remain a strong 9/2 bet despite a dismal performance down the stretch, losing four of their last six outings.

New England still survived as the AFC’s No. 2 seed, giving them a bye this weekend and a home date in the second round of the playoffs. That is good news for the Patriots, considering three of their four recent losses came on the road.

Carolina finished their season on a high note, posting a 38-10 victory over Tampa Bay, picking up the against the spread win as 10-point chalk, but the 15-1 Panthers continue to trail the Super Bowl betting favorites with 19/4 odds.

Seattle has steadily climbed the Super Bowl 50 odds during their current 6-1 SU run, and travels to Minnesota for Sunday’s Wild Card matchup at TCF Bank Stadium with strong 11/2 championship odds.

The 12-4 Denver Broncos claimed the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a slim 27-20 win over San Diego on Sunday, lifting them to 6/1 in Super Bowl 50 betting. But the Broncos continue to be a massive disappointment at the sportsbooks, going 2-6-1 ATS in their past nine games including a pair of outright losses at home as betting favorites.

SU winners in six of their last eight games, the Pittsburgh Steelers enter their AFC Wild Card matchup with Cincinnati as a 9/1 Super Bowl bet, while the Kansas City Chiefs’ 10-game SU winning streak has buoyed their Super Bowl odds to an intriguing 16/1.

The Green Bay Packers start the postseason on the road for the first time since 2011 with a visit to the NFC East champion Washington Redskins, and have seen their Super Bowl 50 odds tumble to 22/1 after opening the season as 11/2 chalk.

With quarterback Andy Dalton still sidelined with a broken thumb, the Bengals have fallen to 25/1, just ahead of the Vikings at 28/1, while the Redskins trail at a distant 40/1, and the Houston Texans sit as 66/1 longshots.

Bennett doesn’t fear backlash for skipping White House trip

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HOUSTON (AP) Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett says he is not worried about upsetting team owner Robert Kraft by not attending New England’s trip to the White House as Super Bowl champions.

Bennett said after the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Falcons on Sunday night that he’s “not going to go” to the traditional meet-and-greet with the president. It will be the first visit of a Super Bowl champion to Washington since Donald Trump was sworn into office.

Trump’s positions have alienated some athletes, which has raised questions about whether some might choose to skip the trip while the new president is in office.

But Bennett said he isn’t concerned about it and thinks the team believes “in whatever I want to do.”

Kraft is a supporter of Trump and attended a celebration dinner in Washington for him the night before his inauguration.

Patriots’ Tom Brady earns 4th Super Bowl MVP trophy with epic comeback

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HOUSTON (AP) The greatest quarterback in NFL history led the biggest Super Bowl comeback to be the MVP on Sunday night.

Tom Brady rallied New England from a 25-point third-quarter deficit for a 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history to earn his fifth Super Bowl title and fourth MVP trophy.

“They’re all sweet,” he said. “They’re all different and this was just an incredible team and I’m just happy to be a part of it,” he said.

Brady threw touchdown passes of 5 and 6 yards in the second half and tied things at 28-28 when he connected withDanny Amendola on a 2-point conversion with 57 seconds left.

He then directed the drive in overtime which ended with a 2-yard run by James White to make the Patriots the first team to win a Super Bowl after trailing by more than 10 points.

“We all brought each other back,” he said. “We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle.”

His performance certainly wasn’t without its struggles. His incredible second half and overtime came after a first half where the Patriots managed just three points and he threw an interception which Robert Alford returned 82 yards for a touchdown. He was hurried and harassed for much of the games. The Falcons sacked him five times and hit him on another eight occasions.

He noted the beating he took when he was trying to recount the details of the comeback and couldn’t remember what the score was at one point in the rally.

“There was a lot of (stuff) that happened tonight,” he said. “I got hit pretty hard.”

His 466 yards passing are a Super Bowl record, surpassing the 414 yards Kurt Warner had 17 years ago. He also set a record for most passes completed in a Super Bowl with 43 and most attempts with 62.

He is the first to play in seven Super Bowls and the victory ties him with Charles Haley for most Super Bowl rings.

After all Brady has done in his career, was this his finest moment?

“Tom’s had a lot of great ones,” coach Bill Belichick said. “But, yeah tonight was one of them.”

It’s a triumphant end to a difficult season for Brady, who missed the first four games because of his “Deflategate” suspension and dealt with his mother Galynn Brady suffering through an undisclosed illness. The Super Bowl was the first game she’s attended all season.

“They’re all happy,” he said fighting back tears. “It’s nice to have everybody here and it’s going to be a great celebration tonight.”

He shared a quick moment with her right after the game, but was looking forward to more time with her in the upcoming days.

“It’s kind of madness after the game so I didn’t get much quality time with her but we’ll get it this week,” he said.

But he certainly wasn’t asking for sympathy for his rough road to this title though, chuckling when someone asked about the adversity the Patriots have gone through in the past couple of years.

“We’ve done pretty good over the last few years … so I don’t think anyone’s feeling bad for the Patriots,” he said. “I don’t think anyone feels bad for the Patriots.”

Brady also collected the MVP trophy in 2001, 2003 and 2014.

“It was just a lot of mental toughness by our team and we’re going to remember this one for the rest of our lives,” Brady said.

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