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Super Bowl LIV Expert picks and predictions

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The day is here. The game is upon us.

With the Kansas City Chiefs set to face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, Sportsnet’s expert panel is ready to weigh in on who will win the day, and who will leave Miami empty-handed.

The panel includes editors Geoff Lowe and Craig Battle, fantasy analyst Andy McNamara, and staff writers Donnovan Bennett and Emily Sadler.

So who will hoist the Lombardi Trophy?

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Andy McNamara
The Pick:
San Francisco 49ers
The Score: 24–21
Super Bowl MVP: Raheem Mostert

The Breakdown: The only way the 49ers pull this off is if they keep it low scoring. If Jimmy G has to come back from behind and play catch-up with Patrick Mahomes then the Chiefs will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. What’s interesting is that Kansas City essentially got a tune-up for San Francisco’s run-first offence in defeating the Derrick Henry–led Tennessee Titans. They rose to that occasion by limiting the bulldozer to 69 yards on the ground and forced Ryan Tannehill to go to the air 31 times.

San Francisco needs to find a way to make its late-season stud running back Raheem Mostert not just relevant, but dominant. The last running back to win a Super Bowl MVP was Denver’s Terrell Davis all the way back at SB XXXII, and I feel Mostert is going to have to play at an MVP level for his team to limit the time KC’s dynamic offence is on the field.

In the head-coach chess match, I’m giving the edge to Kyle Shanahan’s family-legacy zone-read offensive strategy that’s a modernized variation of his father Mike’s when he won back-to-back Super Bowls with the Broncos. Shanahan’s in-game creativity and adjustments are some of the best in the NFL, and if Andy Reid’s old nemesis — clock management — comes knocking, then I’ll bet on San Francisco.

The 49ers win it by a field goal.

Geoff Lowe
The Pick:
Kansas City Chiefs
The Score: 35-31
Super Bowl MVP: Patrick Mahomes

The Breakdown: The Chiefs flip their playoff script, charging out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter instead of digging themselves a hole. Rather than abandon the rushing game, though, Shanahan doubles down and the 49ers put together one of those run-only drives to get San Francisco back into the game as the Niners defence shuts out K.C. in the second quarter. A Robbie Gould field goal pulls the 49ers within four as the first half closes, 14-10 Chiefs.

Then both teams go off in the third.

Mahomes leads the Chiefs to quick back-to-back third-quarter touchdown drives, and then Shanahan finally unleashes Playoff Garoppolo with his team down 28-10. The 49ers rally behind their quarterback, scoring three straight touchdowns and 21 unanswered points as San Fran’s defence stifles Mahomes and Co. for what amounts to more than a full quarter.

Down 31-28 with only a few minutes to go in the game, Mahomes gets a shot to lead the Chiefs to victory – and he does just that. No. 15 finds Travis Kelce in the back of the end zone with less than a minute left in the game. Jimmy G gets a shot at his own game-winning drive, but ultimately falls short and it rains red and white confetti in Miami as the Chiefs lift the Lombardi for the first time since January 1970.

Emily Sadler
The Pick:
Kansas City Chiefs
The Score: 47-41
Super Bowl MVP: Patrick Mahomes

The Breakdown: Down 12-0 halfway through the first quarter, Kansas City fans start fretting that the slow-starting Chiefs are digging themselves a hole too big to climb out of… but then they remember they’ve got Mahomes. The king of the comeback does just that, and while Garoppolo can’t keep up in what becomes an offensive shootout, he doesn’t have to — Mostert keeps the Chiefs’ defence busy trying to figure out how to shut him down like they did Henry two weeks prior.

The result is a high-scoring — actually, the highest-scoring — Super Bowl that comes down to a single score. (After last year’s low-scoring, defensive dud, the football gods owe us this one, right?)

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Donnovan Bennett
The Pick:
Kansas City Chiefs
The Score: 31–30
Super Bowl MVP: Patrick Mahomes

The Breakdown: The Chiefs have a clean bill of health with all 53 players on the roster already proclaimed healthy to play on Sunday. That roster, specifically on offence, is scary.

“It almost looks like they got their roster from the Olympic relay team and threw them all on the football field,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said when describing the Chiefs’ offence.

Never before have we seen an offence with this amount of speed and a quarterback with this kind of arm talent paired with a play caller like Andy Reid. The Niners’ defence is great, but the New Orleans Saints put up 46 points on them. If the Chiefs do anything close to that number, they’ll win going away.

It seems like we are witnessing the beginning of the Mahomes era. Mahomes has eight TDs and zero interceptions in one of the best post-seasons we’ve ever seen. As we start a new decade, it seems only fitting that Mahomes will bookmark it by becoming the youngest player in NFL history to win the Super Bowl and MVP.

Craig Battle
The Pick:
San Francisco 49ers
The Score: 27–24
Super Bowl MVP: Jimmy Garoppolo

The Breakdown: No, I don’t feel confident about this. It’s just that no matter how many times I tried to type out “Kansas City,” I couldn’t quite do it. And yes, I know that Garoppolo has thrown for only 208 yards this post-season, but I have a feeling — “Ooh,” you say, “a feeling” — that’s going to change on Sunday. He threw for almost 4,000 yards on a 102 QB rating in the regular season, so we’re not talking Trent Dilfer or Rex Grossman here. Garoppolo can pass — he just hasn’t needed to during these playoffs.

Furthermore, Shanahan is a creative, inventive coach, and you know he’s going to have some new looks to throw at the Kansas City defence, creating room and opportunity for his QB to shine when the Chiefs adjust to make life hard on Mostert and the running game.

Finally, speaking of defences, the 49ers ranked second on Football Outsiders’ defensive efficiency rankings in 2019. Kansas City was way down the list at 14th.

What’s that old adage about defence and championships, again?

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Understanding the connection between sporting events and online gambling today

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online gambling

Sporting events and online gambling have become increasingly more connected over the years, with people now having the opportunity to bet on their favorite teams or athletes from the comfort of their homes. Technology advancements have further strengthened the connection between sporting events and online gambling. Also, the rise of mobile devices and apps makes placing bets in a variety of casinos at Casinojungle Canada or any other listed online casinos more accessible than ever before.

The link between sports betting and gaming can be seen in many different aspects. For starters, there are now countless bookmakers around the world offering a wide range of betting options for almost any kind of sport imaginable. From football to basketball to ice hockey, these bookmakers give customers an easy way to place wagers on different outcomes. In addition, there are also numerous sites explicitly dedicated to sports betting that offer multiple betting options for each game or event.

How the popularity of sports is fueling the rise of online gambling

More and more people nowadays are watching and participating in sports, causing an increased demand for betting opportunities. This has led to the emergence of numerous online gambling sites that offer a wide range of betting options. These sites allow users to place bets on various sporting events. The convenience offered by these sites makes them very attractive to bettors who want to make quick money without leaving their homes. Additionally, many online gambling sites offer bonuses and promotions. This further encourages people to participate in online gambling activities. As a result, the popularity of sports is fueling the rise of online gambling worldwide.

How has online casino technology evolved over time to accommodate the increase in sports fans?

Significant changes have been witnessed regarding technological advances in the sports betting scene. One of the most significant changes is the introduction of live streaming services, which allow players to watch and bet on their favorite sports games in real-time. Additionally, online casinos have also implemented virtual reality (VR) technology into their platforms, allowing players to experience a more immersive gaming experience. VR technology will enable players to feel like they are actually inside a stadium or arena watching a game unfold.

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Furthermore, many online casinos now offer mobile apps that allow users to access their accounts from anywhere at any time. These apps provide users with an easy way to place bets on their favorite teams and games while on the go. Finally, online casinos have also improved their security measures over time by implementing advanced encryption technologies that protect user data from hackers and other malicious actors.

Analyzing the impact of media coverage on sports gambling trends

Media outlets have the power to shape public opinion on sports gambling, and they can influence how people view it. Media outlets have also been very influential with the increased popularity of sports gambling. By analyzing the impact of media coverage on sports gambling trends, we can gain insight into how different types of media content affect public perception. Additionally, certain types of media content may be more effective than others at influencing public opinion on sports gambling. For instance, research suggests that television news programs are more likely to affect viewers’ attitudes toward sports betting than newspaper articles or online blogs. By understanding how different types of media content affect public opinion on sports gambling trends, we can better understand how media shapes our views and behaviors related to this activity.

The connection between sporting events and online gambling is a complex one that will likely continue to evolve as technology advances. It is important for bettors to understand the risks associated with online sports betting and take steps to ensure safe practices when engaging in this activity.

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Jays Sign Chad Green

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Here I thought the Jays were done signing people this winter, but they have picked up right-handed reliever Chad Green. He’s signed a two-year $8.5 million contract, with options for two more years.

Or it may be more complicated than that:

Green had Tommy John surgery back in May of last year. Apparently, he has already passed his physical.

The options give the Jays some fallback in case he doesn’t come back from TJ being the same pitcher. But if he returns the same pitcher, we have him for the next four seasons.

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Green turns 32 in May. He’s been a Yankee for seven seasons. He has a 3.17 in 272 games. In 2021 he had a 3.12 ER in 67 games and a 31.4% strikeout rate.

Welcome to the Jays, Chad.

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Broncos trade for former Saints HC Payton

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos have agreed to a deal with the New Orleans Saints that will make Sean Payton their head coach, a person with knowledge of the accord said Tuesday.

The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams hadn’t announced the agreement, said the Broncos would send their first-round pick, No. 29 overall, in this year’s draft to the Saints along with a future second-rounder. Denver also will receive a third-round pick in the trade.

Payton remained under contract with New Orleans after stepping down from the Saints last year and working in broadcasting this season.

Payton, 59, went 152-89 in 15 seasons with the Saints and 9-8 in the playoffs. He led New Orleans to a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl following the 2009 season. He stepped away last year when quarterback Drew Brees retired.

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The Broncos, who went 5-12 in 2022 and extended their playoff drought to seven years, fired rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett on Dec. 26 after he went 4-11. Interim coach Jerry Rosburg went 1-1.

Payton’s top task will be to get quarterback Russell Wilson back to his winning ways after the 11-year pro had his worst statistical season following his blockbuster trade from Seattle for four premium draft picks and three players.

The Seahawks reached the playoffs under QB Geno Smith in their first year without Wilson, and now they own the Broncos’ No. 5 overall selection in the draft in April.

The Broncos got back into the first round by trading pass rusher Bradley Chubb at midseason to the Miami Dolphins, who sent the Broncos a first-rounder originally owned by the San Francisco 49ers.

That selection, the 29th overall pick, now belongs to the Saints.

Payton was the headliner during this year’s cycle of head coach openings. Just five teams were searching for coaches: the Broncos, Texans, Panthers, Colts and Cardinals.

The Broncos conducted an extensive search, beginning with a virtual visit with Jim Harbaugh, who decided to stay at the University of Michigan. Also considered were Dan Quinn, DeMeco Ryans, Raheem Morris, Ejiro Evero, Jim Caldwell and David Shaw. The Texans hired Ryans on Tuesday.

NFL rules didn’t allow the Broncos to speak with Payton until Jan. 17, more than three weeks after they’d fired Hackett.

Team owner and CEO Greg Penner led the search with assistance from limited partner Condoleezza Rice and general manager George Paton.

Paton led last year’s search and landed on Hackett, one of several decisions that backfired on him in 2022 as Hackett became just the fifth head coach in NFL history not to survive his first season.

Others were the $70 million contract he gave to free agent Randy Gregory, who played in six games and recorded a pair of sacks, and the $245 million contract extension he gave to Wilson before the opener.

Wilson threw a career-low 16 touchdown passes and was sacked a league-leading and career-high 55 times in 15 games for Denver. He has vowed to do everything he can to bounce back in 2023.

Wilson played well for two weeks under Rosburg, giving the team hope that his poor performances last season were an aberration and that maybe his skill set was just a bad fit in Hackett’s offense.

Penner, his wife, Carrie Walton-Penner, and her father, Rob Walton, purchased the Broncos last summer for $4.65 billion, a global record for a professional sports franchise. But the team turned out to be more of a fixer-upper than they expected.

“When we purchased this great franchise in August, this is not the season we were expecting,” Penner said after firing Hackett. “I want to personally apologize to our fans and all of Broncos country. We know that we need to be better and we will.”

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