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The Greek Sportsbook

Why The Nfl Draft Matters !!

The greatest non-sporting event in sports, the NFL Draft, should lure gridiron-starved NFL fans and, far more tellingly, savvy NFL betting fans, to their TV screens when the annual, dust-off-the-Barcalounger, grab-the-giant-Doritos-bag, telethon-like coverage begins April 26.

While it's true that the price for indulgence is having to listen to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. say "You look at" hundreds of times, (the over/under is 253 1/2) it may be worth it, especially if you're one of those millions of fans who find NFL games a bit more enjoyable when you have a financial interest in the outcome.

With more than two dozen starters (11 on offense, 11 on defense, a placekicker, a punter, one or two kick returners and a long snapper), unlike basketball, it's difficult for one or two players to have an immediate impact on the won/lost (and, by extension, the pointspread) fortunes of a team.

Difficult, but not impossible.

Drafted 11th by the Steelers in 2004, as a rookie, Ben Rothlisberger led the Steelers to a straight up (SU) regular season record of 15-1. More importantly, Pittsburgh also was 11-5 against the spread (ATS). A year later, the Steelers won the Super Bowl.

Eli Manning was drafted No. 1 overall and went to the Giants in 2004. Manning was more of a work in progress but since his arrival in Gotham, the Giants are 42-28 ATS, including a Super Bowl Championship last season.

Tom Brady arrived in New England via the draft as a sixth round pick in 2000. Three Super Bowl titles later the Patriots are 83-58-4 ATS the last eight seasons.

While a quarterback can have the greatest impact on a team, given the closeness of the games, almost any key player�-a shutdown corner, a pass blocking left tackle, an aggressive inside linebacker, even a placekicker�-can make a difference. In reality, the difference between going 10-6 and making the playoffs and being 6-10 and home for the New Year, is not just four games but four plays.

That's right.

Consider that Philadelphia wound up 8-8 last year and out of the playoffs, largely because the Eagles lost four games (and won none) decided by a field goal. That's not just four games but four plays: One dropped pass in the end zone, one fumble near the goal line, one pass interference call on third down, one holding penalty on a TD run, one wide field goal attempt, one missed tackle all could cost a game. Could one good player make a difference? You bet.

Miami lost six games by three points or less last season.

Washington and Philadelphia each were involved in 11 games decided by eight points or less.

The NY Giants owe their Super Bowl Championship to three playoff wins: A 4-point victory over Dallas, a 3-point triumph over Green Bay and a 3-point win over New England. Do one thing wrong, botch or fail to make one play in any of those games and some other team winds up hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

In fact, close games are the norm in the NFL with 56 games decided by a field goal or less and an additional 68 games decided by eight points or less. Those 124 games represent just 124 plays that could have altered the outcome of those contests.

So, whether you're betting futures, over/under regular season victories or are a game bettor, it's important to realize that the difference between cashing a ticket and ripping it in half is as fragile as the result of one play.

That's more than enough reason why NFL betting devotees will be oiling the recliner, stacking up on snacks and taking notes when the NFL Draft is conducted later this month.

This article was written by Luken Karel for
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