AFC to claim Pro Bowl honours

With Super Bowl LIII still over a week away, the Pro Bowl is the only form of gridiron action to look forward to this weekend. With those unfamiliar with the concept, the Pro Bowl pits the best in the AFC Conference against the pick of the NFC, minus those players going to the Super Bowl and a slew of others nursing injuries.

 The aim of the game is to have fun and for everyone to leave healthy, meaning several changes to the rules in order to benefit the offenses. That tends to lead to an offence-dominated game, although the last two have been relatively low scoring. This hasn’t affected the staggering average number of points per game since 2004 too badly though, currently standing at 68.

Beware the overs

Having said that, less than half of the last 15 Pro Bowls have gone over the total number of points set. With the defenses going easy on the offenses, the rules prohibiting the use of blitzing, it should be a high-scoring game and over 55 is 1.95.

However, this is an exhibition game in essence, a chance for the NFL to show off their brightest stars while also enjoying a week of partying in the sunshine state of Florida. The teams do practice during the week but it is nothing like you would see during the regular season.

There is also the unfamiliarity aspect to contend with, all of which could lead to the under in the total points market offering some value at 1.90.

Don’t be blinded by NFC star power

A quick look at the rosters for the game may have you leaning towards the 1.95 NFC and they are likely to start the match as the favourites. The running-back duo of the New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys is particularly mouth-water on the NFC offense.

The AFC squad, which is 1.95, is hardly too shabby though with Kansas City Chiefs quarter-quarter-back Patrick Mahomes in action, fresh off his heroic effort against the New England Patriots last week and having thrown for 50 touchdowns in the regular season.

Despite the AFC winning the last two editions of the Pro Bowl, the NFC seems too often be the favourite but that hasn’t tended to be a good omen.

A quick look back at previous Pro Bowls says that getting behind the underdogs is the way to go. In the past 14 Pro Bowls, the outsider has won nine times, while the team starting with a positive handicap has gone on to cover the spread 12 of the last 15 years.

Chargers duo to make the difference

In terms of who will get into the end zone, you can make an argument for the majority of those on offense given they are the best of the best. However, two that catch the eye for the AFC are the LA Chargers pair, Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen.

Between them they had 16 touchdowns this season and with Bolts head coach Anthony Lynn calling the shots for the AFC, they may get looked upon favourably in the redzone.