The big game is almost here! Super Bowl 52 will be played on Sunday, February 4th at 6:00 PM ET. The game will be aired on NBC and you can follow all the action live on Twitter with the #SB52 hashtag.
Who are the most popular professors betting on this year’s Super Bowl? It’s a combination of factors but mostly driven by the supremely confident Professor Robert M. Sapirstein of the University of Chicago who has bet $100,000 on the Bears and the undefeated University of Notre Dame.
This won’t be the first time that the University of Chicago has been associated with a major sporting event. The school is most well-known for its sports teams but also prides itself on having the best undergrad and grad students. One of the perks of being at such a prestigious school is access to exclusive sports tickets and great odds on sporting events. It seems that Professor Sapirstein has decided to take advantage of the opportunity and make a killing on the games this year. Even more impressive is that Sapirstein is a renowned expert in clinical trials and pharmaceutical regulation and therefore has a good understanding of how the medical field functions in general.
Notre Dame will also be making a comeback appearance in the big game after an eight-year absence. The Fighting Irish were one of the first seven teams to make the playoffs last year and they’ve improved their performance each year. They’ve had a good run of late and are currently 7-0, winning their last seven games. The last time these two schools met in the Super Bowl was in 2010 when the Bears beat the Panthers 33-28. This will be the second time that Notre Dame has made it to the big game as a minnow and the first as a favorite. The last time the Cardinals made it to the Super Bowl they were an 11-point underdog against the Panthers in 1992. However, they shocked the world by upsetting the mighty Panthers 23-21.
Sapirstein and Notre Dame are far from the only big game wagering enthusiasts. Michigan State University sports fans are also going crazy ahead of their team’s big game this weekend against the University of Iowa. The Hawkeyes are currently 9-0, having won their last nine games, so the Spartans will be going all-out to prevent a four-game losing streak. Michigan State is currently tied for first place in the Big Ten with Ohio State and has a comfortable lead in the conference.
There are also a number of prominent football pundits who are backing the Jacksonville Jaguars in this year’s Super Bowl. The team has won each of its last four games, including a 35-31 upset of the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The Jags will be playing in their third consecutive Super Bowl but they haven’t won any of them. The last time the Jags won the Super Bowl was in 1994. The team’s fans are excited about their playoff performance and are prepared to bank on their favorite squad making a comeback in the big game this year.
This year’s Super Bowl is expected to be a close one with lots of betting action. Both teams are currently undefeated and are proving to be the best in their respective conferences. This year’s matchup pits the Panthers, armed with former MVP Cam Newton at quarterback, against the Bears, who are led by first-time head coach Matt Nagy. While neither team is renowned for any specific strategy or gameplan, a lot will likely depend on who performs best under pressure. The pressure is certainly on Cam Newton and the Panthers as he’ll be making his fourth career playoff appearance. Even more pressure will be on coach Matt Nagy as he’s had to wait a long time to lead his team into the postseason. The pressure will build as the game progresses and each team will be hoping to pull off the upset. As a general rule, underdog teams are more likely to pull off an upset victory in the Super Bowl. However, history doesn’t repeat itself quite so easily and the favorite is usually the better team in the end.
Cam Newton Is Back
If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a football fan or at least somewhat interested in the sport. If you’re a football fan, then you’ll know exactly who Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is and what he’s done for the league in general and the game in particular. He’s won the MVP award twice in the last three years and been a part of some truly memorable games. One of the biggest will be the 2015 season when he led the Panthers to an unforgettable comeback victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. After that game he became something of a folk hero in North Carolina. The way he carried himself on the field and off was an inspiration to people who had previously given up hope. Many people felt that he deserved to be named the league’s MVP that year.
Newton hasn’t played a huge amount of football since then, missing the entire 2016 season (he briefly came back in September to play in an exhibition game) due to suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. He’s currently serving a four-game ban for a failed drug test. Despite missing games, Newton is still one of the more popular candidates for NFL MVP this year.
Newton’s return to the field won’t just be a benefit to the Panthers football team. It will also be a big game for the whole state of North Carolina as well. He’s returning home to play in front of his home fans and to show the Tar Heel state what they’ve been missing. The game will also be a big deal for Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian. He’s been the starter for the last four years and will be looking to prove that he’s still worth a roster spot in the NFL. While he had a respectable career in the league, it was never enough for the Denver Broncos and they released him earlier this offseason.
New Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy
The Chicago Bears have a new head coach this year and he’s one of the more intriguing hires that the team made this offseason. Matt Nagy was the last head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and it’s generally considered one of the best sports towns in the country. They’ve won three of the last four Super Bowls and are looking to become the first team since the Steelers in 2009 to win back-to-back titles. The Chiefs haven’t won three straight Super Bowls since 1975-77 and Nagy will be looking to bring that success to Chicago.
Nagy spent the last two months of 2017 studying the Steelers playbook and in January he told ESPN that he was “learning a lot” from it and that he was “determined to make the transition and be the best [he] can be.” If the last two months were preparation for this year’s Super Bowl, then Nagy is officially in a better place than he was a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, things aren’t always as simple as they seem and the Steelers are currently favored in every game this year, including the Super Bowl. While it’s always nice to see a team work hard to improve and reach new milestones, the Steelers’ track record this year is a little concerning.
One of the biggest reasons why the Steelers are so highly regarded is their legendary coach, Mike Tomlin. He’s been named the Steelers’ head coach for the 16th straight year and will be looking to lead the team to a fifth Super Bowl win. This season, however, is shaping up to be a bit of a challenge. The Steelers haven’t had a cakewalk in a while and they’re definitely favored to win the Super Bowl in Houston but they’re also 3-1 against the spread in their last four games. They beat the Browns in overtime 23-20, the Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game 35-31 and the Raiders in Oakland 33-27. They also lost to the Dolphins 28-26 in week 17 last year. The loss to the Dolphins was particularly crushing as they lead the Steelers 27-21 heading into the fourth quarter but settled for a field goal as time expired. This year’s Super Bowl should be a close one but the Steelers are still the cream of the crop.
Bears Vs. Panthers Odds
The 2018 NFL playoffs will commence next week with the beginning of the NFC and AFC Championship Games. While neither the NFC nor the AFC are considered to be strong conferences, they both boast some very interesting tiebreakers. The NFC’s top seed is the Minnesota Viking’s who are currently 9-3 and they’ll be taking on the Eagles at U.S. Bank Stadium. The favorite in this game is 8-4 the Philadelphia Eagles who won the NFC East last year. The other three teams in the division were the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, all of whom are still looking for their first win of the season. If the Vikings are going to make another deep playoff run, they’ll need to go through the Eagles first.