Levi’s Stadium set to show off innovations at Super Bowl

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — When architects set out to design a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers, they wanted a building that fit the Silicon Valley region where it is located.

Retro was out. High-tech and green-friendly were in.

That was mostly accomplished at the $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium when it opened in the summer of 2014. There’s the in-stadium app that allows fans to watch replays, order food and figure out which bathrooms have the shortest line; the environmentally friendly features that help the stadium achieve zero net energy use on game days; and the open-air feel that helps fans take in the Bay Area.

After 18 months of mostly good reviews for events ranging from football to concerts to WrestleMania and even an outdoor hockey game, Levi’s Stadium truly arrives on the big stage Feb. 7 when more than 100 million people will watch it host the Super Bowl between Denver and Carolina. After the game in Santa Clara, the Super Bowl will shift to Houston and NRG Stadium, site of Super Bowl XXXVII in 2004 when it was then called Reliant Stadium. The 2018 big game will be played in Minnesota, at the soon-to-be-completed U.S. Bank Stadium, which is set to open in time for the coming NFL season. The 2019 and ’20 game sites are yet to be determined, but the finalists are New Orleans, Atlanta, Tampa, Miami and Los Angeles, where the Rams will begin play in 2016.

Regardless of where the game is hosted in coming years, this year’s game promises to have a futuristic feel.

“We set out to design the next generation of the NFL stadium,” said Tim Cahill, a senior vice president and chief design officer at HNTB Corporation, the firm that designed Levi’s Stadium. “That’s what we’re most proud of.”

The stadium was originally designed to be at Candlestick Point, where the 49ers played from 1971-2013. But then the York family that owns the team decided to locate it at the team’s full-time facility more than 40 miles away in Santa Clara in the middle of Silicon Valley.

Levi’s Stadium was home to the first mobile app designed to enhance every aspect of a fan’s stadium experience, from steering fans to their parking spots to identifying the least-crowded restrooms. Fans can order food and drinks that can be delivered directly to their seats and watch replays from four different camera angles on their phones or tablets.

With as many as 70,000 fans using devices throughout the game, the designers had to create a backbone that could handle that kind of heavy use. The stadium features 400 miles of fiber optic cable providing stadium-wide Wi-Fi capability and HD video boards.

Lanson Nichols, a vice president and senior projects manager at HNTB, said Levi’s has triple the fiber-optic backbone of other NFL stadiums as part of the plan to “future-proof” the building.

“Being in the heart of Silicon Valley it just became a natural that this had to be the most advanced stadium in the country just being in the middle of that culture,” Nichols said. “People expected not just cutting edge, but bleeding edge technology.”

One of the highest priorities in the design was making the stadium as environmentally friendly as possible and that was realized when Levi’s became the first football stadium to receive LEED Gold certification.

That was accomplished with nearly 20,000 square feet of solar panels, a 27,000-square-foot living roof above the suites planted with native California species, 80 percent of the water used coming from recycled water and efficient use of electricity that allows the stadium to be a net zero energy user on game days.

“From day one, that is something the York family and Santa Clara wanted to make a statement that `Why can’t a stadium be green?”‘ Cahill said.

The biggest flaw from the first two seasons of the stadium should not be an issue for the Super Bowl. The 49ers had several problems with the turf at the start that led to players slipping on the grass and chunks of sod coming loose. The team had to move practices this summer out of the stadium because of those issues. But after making changes to the base of the field earlier this season, the turf has mostly held up and should be in good shape for the game.

NFL field director Ed Mangan, working his 27th Super Bowl, oversaw the installation of a brand new field earlier this month. The 75,000 square feet of grass from West Coast Turf in California’s Central Valley was all in place by Jan. 12 and a crew of about three dozen workers has been mowing, painting and protecting the field ever since.

Preparing a field for a Super Bowl is a tall task with it getting heavy use from pregame and halftime performers, who must rehearse at the stadium as well as the players. Mangan’s staff will keep the field tarped as much as possible during those rehearsals to keep it fresh and will do on-the-fly maintenance when necessary after the show on game day.

“It’s not just the game we’re preparing this field for,” he said. “It’s all the activities that will be on this field, the pregame and halftime shows. They all get the field starting this weekend.”

Information from NBCSports.com news services was used in this story.

 

Sunday Night Football odds: Eagles laying touchdown against Cowboys

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The fact that the Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a bye while the Dallas Cowboys had a short week to work on their road woes should tip off straight-up bettors, but the spread might be another story.

The Eagles, led by quarterback Carson Wentz, are 7-point favorites on the Sunday Night Football odds against the Cowboys with a 43.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Philadelphia is 16-3 straight-up and 12-6-1 against the spread in its last 19 games after having at least a full week off, while Dallas is 0-9 SU in its last nine games after playing the Monday prior.

Dallas carries a good head-to-head trend of being 5-1 SU and ATS in their last six road games at Philadelphia, according to the OddsShark NFL Database, and is also 6-3 ATS in its last nine road games as an underdog of 6.5 or more points.

The Cowboys are 3-5 both SU and ATS after a home loss against the Houston Texans on Monday. Dallas and quarterback Dak Prescott have habitually struggled to score points on the road, and a nicked-up offensive line faces a very strong Eagles defensive line led by tackle Fletcher Cox. For all the formidability of its front four, though, the Eagles are giving up 4.5 yards per rush and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott should find some room to the outside as both a rusher and pass receiver.

Dallas will be without wide receiver Tavon Austin (groin) and will need more out of Amari Cooper in the passing phase as the ex-Oakland Raider enters his second game for the Cowboys.

The Eagles, who are 4-4 SU and 3-5 ATS and need the win to have any reasonable chance at defending their Super Bowl crown, are 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS over their last eight games at night. Bettors’ confidence in the Eagles’ offensive capabilities might come down to the health of right tackle Lane Johnson (knee), who is expected to play and provide resistance to the Dallas pass rush.

Quarterback Carson Wentz now has wide receiver Golden Tate, recently acquired via trade, in his arsenal against a Cowboys pass defense that allows the sixth-worst opponents’ passer rating (101.1) in the NFL.

The ground game has generated middling results for the Eagles, who are still hoping either Corey Clement or Wendell Smallwood can take a lead role. Dallas also allows the second-least yards per rush in the NFL, which is a small reason to think the Cowboys will offer some resistance by forcing Wentz into obvious passing downs.

Wentz will likely face some long-yardage scenarios, though, as the Cowboys allow the second-least yards per carry.

There are pronounced UNDER trends in this matchup. The total has gone UNDER in the Cowboys’ last three games against the Eagles, with an average combined score of 30.67 points. The total has gone UNDER in the Cowboys’ last eight games on the road, with an average combined score of 31.25 points. And the total has gone UNDER in eight of the Eagles’ last nine games at home, with an average combined score of 31.89 points.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

NFL Week 6 odds: Bengals, Eagles, Patriots are all betting favorites

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The Cincinnati Bengals usually handle struggling teams, but it’s fair to wonder if that trend will be cancelled out by their long-running difficulties against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Bengals, led by quarterback Andy Dalton, are 2.5-point favorites against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the NFL Week 6 odds with a 53-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

According to the OddsShark NFL Database, it is only the sixth time in the last 14 seasons that the AFC North-leading Bengals are favored at home against the Steelers, but they are 14-4 straight-up in their last 18 home games against teams with losing records, and are also 6-1 SU and against the spread in their last seven games.

The Steelers, 2-2-1 SU on the season, have dominated the matchup with a 16-2 SU record in their last 18 road games against the Bengals, but they are also 1-6 ATS in their last seven games in the early afternoon.

The Philadelphia Eagles are 3-point road favorites against the New York Giants  with a 43-point total for the Thursday Night Football matchup. The Eagles are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games against the Giants. The total has gone OVER in the Eagles’ last five games against the Giants, with an average combined score of 54.6. The Giants are 2-8 SU and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games.

The Seattle Seahawks are 3-point favorites against the Oakland Raiders with a 48-point total in a matchup at Wembley Stadium in London. The Seahawks, who will be idle in Week 7, are 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games before a bye. The Raiders are 2-5 SU and 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games before a bye. The total has gone UNDER in 10 of the Raiders’ last 12 games, with an average combined score of 43.33.

The Chicago Bears are 3-point road favorites against the Miami Dolphins with a 42-point total. The Bears are 1-9 SU in their last 10 games on the road against teams with winning records. The total has gone UNDER in five of the Bears’ last seven games, with an average combined score of 37.43. The Dolphins are 0-7-1 ATS in their last eight games at home after consecutive road games.

The Washington Redskins are 1-point favorites against the Carolina Panthers with a 44.5-point total. The Panthers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games against the Redskins. The Redskins are 3-10 SU in their last 13 games in Week 6. The total has gone UNDER in four of the Redskins’ last five games in the early afternoon.

The Los Angeles Rams are 7-point road favorites against the Denver Broncos with a 52.5-point total. The Rams are 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games in the late afternoon. The total has gone OVER in eight of the Rams’ last 10 games on the road, with an average combined score of 54.5. The Broncos are 4-13 SU and 2-14-1 ATS in their last 17 games.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are 3-point road favorites against the Dallas Cowboys with a 40.5-point total. The Jaguars are 4-22 SU and 6-20 ATS in their last 26 games in the late afternoon. The Cowboys are 0-5 SU and ATS in their last five games in the late afternoon.

The New England Patriots are 3.5-point favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs with a 59.5-point total in the Sunday Night Football matchup. The Chiefs have covered in every game so far this season and are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games after consecutive ATS wins. The total has gone OVER in 10 of the Chiefs’ last 14 games at night. The Patriots are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games at night.

And the Green Bay Packers are 9.5-point road favorites against the San Francisco 49ers with a 46.5-point total for Monday night’s game. The 49ers are 0-14 SU and 5-9 ATS in their last 14 road games as an underdog of 7.5 or more points. The Packers are 8-2 SU and 6-4 ATS in their last 10 home games as a favorite of 7.5 or more points.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.