“I think any kicker, and any player, will truly say, [he'd] love to have an absolute blowout. Because then it’s fun the whole time, you just relax. But if it comes down to where you have to make a kick, obviously I’m going to go out and give it the best shot I have and hope that it comes out on the positive side for us. I’ve never been a guy to guarantee anything. So that’s what I’m going to do — give it the best effort I have.”
-David Akers, kicker, San Francisco 49ers
If it comes down to a nail-biter ending, a Super Bowl XLVII victory could depend on one of these two kickers.
Or a prayer.
If the NFL championship game is a close one, for YouWager’s football bettors, it could be all about two essential players. One is a 38 year-old veteran and the other is a 23 year-old rookie. The story of the game could easily come down to each team’s gamble on a final field goal.
Talk about odds. After he missed 13 kicks in the 2012 NFL football wagering season, David Akers is only 1 of 2 in the playoffs. So why is San Francisco betting the farm on this kicker? Akers started out great, tying a league record in the club’s season opening win against the Green Bay Packers with a 63-yard field goal that hit the goal post’s crossbar and barely bounced over. In the 2011 season, YouWager bettors saw Akers set the world on fire, setting NFL records for the most field goals, with 44, the most field goal attempts, at 52, and with 166 points, making the most points without scoring a touchdown. A news source tells YouWager that early on, Akers was, understandably, very optimistic. “It was like, wow, this is going to be another dream season,” Akers said.
Then, he fell apart. Kicks hooked to left and the right. By the end of the 2012 season, Akers had failed on 13 of 42 attempts. In the NFC Championship game, against Atlanta, he blew a 38-yard kick. San Francisco managed to rally for a 28-24 win. San Francisco was concerned about consistency. Ironically, to help, they turned to a former Baltimore Raven, Billy Cundiff. YouWager’s dedicated football bettors will remember Cundiff as the man that missed that 32-yard kick in last season’s AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots, costing the Ravens a shot at the Super Bowl. San Francisco signed Cundiff before San Francisco’s playoff match against the Green Bay Packers. After that one, the 49ers released Cundiff. Now, they are back with Akers.
The Baltimore Ravens are betting their Super Bowl victory on a rookie, with Justin Tucker. The young kicker sounded confident when he spoke with YouWager’s source. “I’ll say this, I’ll be thankful for whatever opportunity I get. If Morgan [Cox, the Ravens' long-snapper] and Sam [Koch, punter and holder on field goals] and I can get out there and do our thing like we know how to do, we always feel like we have a chance. That would be a dream.”
Like Akers, Tucker, also got his job by outshining Billy Cundiff. During the 2012 NFL football betting season, Tucker made 30 of 33 field goal attempts. Even San Francisco’s David Akers admits Tucker’s performance was “astronomical as a rookie.” After that, Tucker made a 47-yard kick against the Denver Broncos that boosted Baltimore with a double-overtime win in the AFC divisional playoff game. “We’re at the precipice of greatness,” Tucker told YouWager’s source. Not to be outdone by Tim Tebow’s famous religious gestures, Tucker is a committed Catholic. Before each and every kick, he makes the sign of the cross. He’s been doing this since high school and admits that he has no fear of public spectacle. Tucker often sings opera for his Baltimore teammates.
Will the game come down to consistent kicking, or the ability to deliver the goods under an incredible amount of pressure?
About the risks an irregular Akers might pose, Brad Seely, San Francisco’s special teams coach, downplayed their kicker’s issues to YouWager’s source, saying, “It’s just minor, minor things. It’s like a guy who can’t quite sink that putt. I think he’s a confident guy. He’s done this too long not to be confident. He’s been successful, he’s been on big stages before. I think he’s confident, and I think we still have good confidence in him that he’ll go out and perform.”
Like most of the other major online sportsbooks, at YouWager, the San Francisco 49ers are 3.5 point favorites in Super Bowl XLVII. The total is 47.5. Kickoff on Sunday is 6:30PM Eastern.