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  1. #31
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    NFL

    Sunday, January 8


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NFL Wild Card betting preview: Giants at Packers
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Packers deep receiving core will try to take advantage of the Giants 23rd ranked pass defense. Green Bay is currently a 4.5-point home fave.

    New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (-4.5, 44.5)

    Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers proved to be a man of his word when he told reporters that the Green Bay Packers were capable of running the table to secure a playoff bid. Six straight wins led to the eighth straight postseason appearance for Green Bay, which looks to remain on the fast track when it hosts the New York Giants on Sunday in an NFC wild-card matchup at Lambeau Field.

    "Look, I just talked about running the table and getting into the playoffs. Obviously, it's win or go home at this point. That's the focus," Rodgers, who tossed 15 of his NFL-best 40 touchdown passes during the Packers' winning streak, told reporters. The 33-year-old recorded his second straight four-TD performance in Sunday's 31-24 victory over Detroit, securing the NFC North title for his team and conference Player of the Month honors to boot. While Green Bay has been a staple in the playoffs, New York is making its first postseason appearance since it posted a victory over the Packers in the divisional round of the 2011-12 playoffs en route to upending New England in Super Bowl XLVI. Eli Manning, who has won eight of his last nine playoff starts, completed just 18-of-35 passes for 199 yards in a 23-16 loss to Green Bay on Oct. 9.

    TV: 4:40 p.m. ET, FOX.

    POWER RANKINGS: Giants (-2.5) - Packers (-4) + home field (-3) = Packers -4.5

    LINE HISTORY: The Packers opened as 4.5-home favorites briefly faded to 3.5 Tuesday morning, returned to the opening number -4.5 later in the afternoon and has held ever since. The total opened at 44.5 and hasn’t moved off that number all week. Check out the complete history here.

    WEATHER REPORT: The forecast for Lambeau Field is mostly sunny and bitter cold, with temperatures in mid-teens in the afternoon dropping to single digits into the evening. There will be winds blowing from the west between 8-12 mph.

    WHAT SHARPS SAY: Another same season rematch with the Giants looking to avenge a 23-16 home loss suffered to the Packers in early October. El Manning’s postseason success jumps off the page (8-1 SUATS last nine playoff games), but Aaron Rodgers’ red-hot hand (6-0 SU down the stretch with 18 TDs and 0 INTs) certainly makes this a playoff game worth watching.

    WHAT BOOKS SAY: We opened the Packers as -3.5 point favourite and quickly took action on the Giants to cover pushing us all the way down Packers -3.5. We then took sharp action on the Packers at that number pushing us up to -4 then -4.5 and finally to our current number of -5. We are seeing solid two way action on this game with 51% of that landing on the Packers to cover.

    INJURY REPORT:

    Giants -
    S Nat Berhe (probable, concussion), CB Coty Sensabaugh (probable, ankle), CB Janoris Jenkins (probable, back), DE Owa Odighizuma (questionable, hamstring), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (questionable, hernia), TE Jerell Adams (questionable, shoulder), WR Dwayne Harris (questionable, knee)

    Packers - WR Randall Cobb (probable, ankle), CB Damarious Randall (probable, knee), LB Clay Matthews (probable, shoulder), OT Bryan Bulaga (probable, abdominal), OT Jason Spriggs (questionable, shoulder), LB Nick Perry (questionable, hand), G T.J. Lang (questionable, foot), C JC Tretter (questionable, knee), LB Jayrone Elliott (questionable, hand), LB Joe Thomas (questionable, back), CB Quinten Rollins (doubtful, concussion), RB James Starks (out, concussion), CB Makinton Dorleant (IR, knee)

    ABOUT THE GIANTS (11-5 SU, 9-6-1 ATS, 4-12 O/U):
    The flashy Odell Beckham Jr. (NFL third-best 101 receptions for 1,367 yards) and fellow wideout Victor Cruz were quick to dismiss Monday's celebrity-filled off-day trip to Miami as "much ado about nothing" rather than any sort of distraction heading into the playoff game. Beckham had five receptions among his team-high 12 targets and found the end zone in the waning moments of the first meeting with the Packers while Cruz was held without a catch. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after reeling in two of his NFL second-best six interceptions in a 19-10 victory over Washington on Sunday.

    ABOUT THE PACKERS (10-6 SU, 9-6-1 ATS, 10-6 O/U): Jordy Nelson recorded one of his NFL-best 14 touchdowns this season against the Giants, but he was quick to praise his opponents this week. "They've got a great secondary, from the corners and the safeties," he told reporters. "Not very often do teams have both - usually it's one or the other, for the most part. ... It will be a good battle." Randall Cobb won the battle the last time around with nine receptions for 108 yards, and the speedy wideout participated in both practices this week after missing the last two games with a left ankle injury. Fellow wide receiver Davante Adams, who also had a highlight-reel TD grab versus New York in the first meeting, had two touchdowns against the Lions last week and has five scoring receptions in his last five games at home.

    TRENDS:

    * Giants are 9-0 ATS in their last 9 playoff road games.
    * Packers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
    * Under is 7-1 in Giants last 8 games overall.
    * Over is 4-1 in Packers last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.
    * Giants are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.

    CONSENSUS:
    The bettors are backing the Giants with 54 percent of users taking the road dog. As for the total, 61 percent of wagers are on the Over.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #32
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    SUNDAY, JANUARY 8

    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

    MIA at PIT 01:05 PM

    MIA +11.5 *****

    U 47.0 *****


    NYG at GB 04:40 PM

    NYG +5.5 *****

    O 46.0 *****
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #33
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    Opening Line Report - DP
    January 9, 2017


    The point-spread in Las Vegas on Sunday for next Saturday night’s AFC divisional playoff game was as high as New England -17 (even), a line that would make it the third biggest in NFL playoff history. The number, available at MGM Resorts, is surpassed only by two Super Bowls– Super Bowl III, when the Colts lost outright 16-7 as 18-point favorites to the Jets; and Super Bowl XXIX, when the 49ers covered the 19-point spread in a 49-26 triumph against the Chargers.

    So is the number the Patriots are being asked to lay next week against Houston justified?

    The Wynn opened the Pats at a shorter-but-still-hefty price of -14.5 and was pushed to -15.5 in early wagering Sunday.

    "That’s sharps betting mostly, that’s not general public. Maybe they were just laying it because there were higher numbers out there," said John Avello, executive director of race and sports at the Vegas property. “When you look at the way Houston played against a team like the Patriots (in Week 3), I guess it’s justifiable, but it’s a really high number for a playoff game.”

    The Texans were spotted just 1 point when they visited a Jacoby Brissett-led Patriots team in Week 3, and they got shellacked, 27-0.

    Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook oddsmaker Ed Salmons, whose shop opened New England -14.5 and moved to -16 during Sunday betting, said of the line, "I think it’s deserved. Our thinking was we knew it was more than two touchdowns and we knew it wasn’t 17 – it was somewhere in between there. So we opened 14.5, and essentially if someone was going to move up, we were going with them – and that’s what happened."

    Handicappers looking to make a case for the underdog may point to the fact that by the most basic of statistics, Houston’s defense ranks No. 1 in the NFL (301.3 yards per game).

    "Defensively, they’re okay. I don’t know if they’re the best team defensively in the league," Avello retorted. “Statistically they are, but they’re really not, and they’re going up to a place where the other team can score at will.”

    Houston has also been dreadful away from home, going 2-5 both straight up and against the spread in true road games this season, including losses by large margins to Minnesota, Denver and Green Bay, in addition to the aforementioned bagel at Foxborough.

    "Every time they play a good team on the road, they get killed," Salmons said. "(And) going from Connor Cook (in their wild-card win over Oakland) to Tom Brady in one week is about the greatest upgrade you’ll ever see at quarterback."

    The total for next Saturday night, meanwhile, is hovering between 44.5 and 45 six days before kickoff.

    Here’s are the Vegas consensus point spreads and totals, early line moves and thoughts from Avello and Salmons on the rest of the divisional round:

    Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (-4.5, 51), Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET

    The Westgate opened Atlanta -3.5 but moved up with market and landed at -4.5.

    "After this weekend, you just can’t make the favorites high enough," Salmons said, after watching the chalk cash in all four wild-card games.

    The Wynn opened 4.5 and took Seattle money at that number, before moving to 4 and writing action on the favorite.

    While Avello was back at 4.5 when we spoke Sunday night, his futures book is another factor in his number for next Saturday.

    "I’m not in bad shape (with Atlanta futures), I’m just in better shape with other teams, so I’ll try to force some money on the other side if I can," he said.

    While William Hill U.S. stood pat at Falcons -4, action through the first 20 hours of wagering was overwhelmingly on the favorite, both in terms of tickets (75 percent) and money bet (84 percent). The total trended upward early, from 49.5 to 51 at the Westgate.

    Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5, 45.5), Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET

    Kansas City opened the dog but was moved to favorite status at multiple Las Vegas bet shops Sunday. The Westgate, in fact, hung Pittsburgh -2.5 and moved to K.C. +2, before coming back in the other direction.

    Ben Roethlisberger was in a walking boot after the Steelers’ win over Miami on Sunday, a factor in the Westgate’s decision to adjust the line toward the Chiefs.

    "When you’re in a walking boot, it’s not a good thing," Salmons said. "I’m sure he’ll play, but his mobility is going to be limited. He doesn’t run a lot, but (mobility) is an important part of his game."

    Salmons added of the line movement at his shop, "I said I’d keep going up to Kansas City -2.5 until someone’s willing to bet back, just to see how high it can go, and I got someone to bet back at +2."

    While the swing wasn’t as dramatic at the Wynn, Avello opened Pitt -1 and moved to Kansas City -1 in one flash.

    "There’s no sense in stopping at a pick. The game can’t fall pick so why stop there, especially early on?," Avello said. "When you first put up a number and you start getting guys betting it, there’s no reason to ever be at pick. Get to a number and see where the action comes in during the week, and then maybe pick’s a good spot to settle at because you got good two-way (action), but not this early in the week."

    While the total at the Wynn bounced between 45.5 and 46, several Vegas shops were dealing 46.5 on Sunday night.

    Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-4, 52), Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET

    The Wynn opened Dallas -3.5 and was bet up to -4, the more popular opening line in Las Vegas. Salmons said he can see the spread getting to 4.5 if its confirmed that Jordy Nelson won’t be able to go for Green Bay.

    Wherever the number ends up, Salmons expects action on both sides of this NFC classic, and since it’s the last game of the weekend, that’s a perfect scenario for the books.

    "You want a game (in that slot) where you don’t have one-sided action," Salmons said. "The Giants-Packers game fit that (Sunday). There was a ton of two-way betting on that game today. Usually on that last game, only bad things can happen for the book because all the good parlays lead through it and the teasers and things like that...By the time you get to the last game , if you have a one-sided game, you’re liability can be massive. But with Green Bay and Dallas, I think there’s going to be a ton of two-way action."

    The Westgate moved the total from 51 to 51.5 and booked ‘over’ money at the higher price, and the number was as high as 52 in Vegas as early wagering commenced.

    Based on Avello’s comments, the ‘over’ sentiment is understandable.

    "I certainly don’t like the Green Bay pass defense. I didn’t like it (Sunday vs. the Giants)," he said. "But when you’ve got a guy like Rodgers, he just figures a way to get it done, he’s so good. He’s so fun to watch, he’s probably the best pure passer in games I’ve ever seen"
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  4. #34
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    Books survive WC favorites
    January 9, 2017


    Las Vegas sports books were hoping wild card weekend would give them a boost in revenues after one of the toughest NFL seasons they've ever experienced, but the worst scenario came to fruition as all four favorites won and covered.

    "I think I'm going to get a tattoo that says Packers and Over," joked Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay about Green Bay's 38-13 win over the Giants. "It happens all the time, so I might as well."

    It doesn't quite happen all the time, but during their current seven-game win streak (6-1 ATS), the Packers have gone 'over' the total in their last five games. The Giants looked to have a good grip on the game during the first-half with its defense playing well and holding a 6-0 lead in the second quarter, but then the flood gates opened and the Packers (-5) would go on a 38-7 run with and help the game go 'over' 46.5 total points in freezing Lambeau Field conditions.

    But rather than complain about the losses, some of the book bosses considered themselves somewhat fortunate the losses weren't worse.

    "Even with four favorites, it's not as bad as it looks," said Kornegay. "The Seahawks and Steelers staying under really helped us out. But yes, we're definitely a loser on the day, but no, it's not the disaster you might think."

    The Steelers took care of business at home against the Dolphins, 30-12, covering the spread that got as high as -12.5 on Sunday morning while staying 'under' 47.5. On Saturday night the Seahawks beat the Lions, 26-6, as eight-point home favorites while the 'under' (45.5) connected.

    "Not great," said MGM Resorts VP Jay Rood regarding the Wild Card weekend at his 10 books, "but not as bad as we might of thought. We really got helped out by having some big play on Detroit Saturday. A couple of big house players liked the Lions and put us in a spot to need Seattle."

    It was the battle of back-up quarterbacks in Houston on Saturday that kicked off the weekend, and the Texans beat Oakland 27-14 covering (-4) and the game went 'over' (37.5). The total going to the high side eased some of the risk, but sharp money had pushed the Texans up from -2.5 and forced the move past -3.

    Despite the favorites coming in, a few of the books in town actually managed to show a small profit.

    "We lost in the parlays as per usual these last few weeks," said CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal. "But we actually needed the Packers because we took some big Giants money-line action. It could have been worse, but we won money on the weekend at a small percentage."

    South Point sports book director Chris Andrews was in the same boat saying, "We actually made a little bit. I don't know how, but we did."

    The books aren't quite out of the woods yet and danger lurks Monday night with extended risk tied into college football National Championship game left over from the four wild card games.

    "Yes, we have a lot of liability to Clemson taking the points and the money-line; we need Alabama," Kornegay said.

    Most books are in the same situation as of Monday morning where Alabama is a consensus 6.5-point favorite with a total at 51. It's not often the books get to root for the best team in the nation in the biggest college game of the year.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #35
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    Tuesday’s six-pack

    Odds to win the 2017 World Series:

    3-1— Chicago Cubs

    6-1— Boston Red Sox

    8-1— Dodgers-Mets-Giants-Astros

    10-1— Washington Nationals/Cleveland Indians

    12-1— Bronx Bombers

    15-1— Texas Rangers


    Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……..

    13) Clemson 35, Alabama 31— One of greatest college football games ever. Some quick thoughts:
    — Clemson ran 98 plays from scrimmage, had 31 first downs. Against Alabama.
    — Crimson Tide was just 2-15 on third down. Hard to win with a freshman QB, even if he is a really good freshman.
    — Deshaun Watson threw for 420 yards; he threw for 405 vs Alabama LY. Can’t wait to see where he gets drafted in the NFL.
    — Alabama led 24-14 after the third quarter; at that point, no one thought they were losing.
    — I had great fun watching ESPNews, with six D-I coaches and Brian Griese watching the game. Three of the six happen to be ACC coaches. It was excellent TV.
    — Boston College coach Steve Addazio was good in studio but he didn’t know the clock doesn’t run during a PAT, which seems strange.
    — BYU coach Kilani Sitake had the line of the night, when coaches were busting his chops about his players going on Mormon missions: “If it was a great system to develop athletes, Alabama would be doing it.”
    — Clemson’s last national title was in 1981; their coach then was Danny Ford, who just like Dabo Swinney, is an Alabama graduate.

    12) This past weekend was first time in 15+ years that all four home favorites won/covered in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. All four favorites covered in 2012, but Seattle was a road favorite in Washington that year.

    11) DeMarcus Cousins is a really good player, but has anger management issues; he already has 10 technical fouls this year. When he gets to 16, it is an automatic one-game suspension.

    10) Valparaiso 81, Detroit 74— This game was Sunday; Crusaders were 33-42 on the foul line, the visiting Titans 4-9. In a 7-point game. Detroit got hosed.

    9) Clippers/Lakers both played at home Sunday at Staples Center, the Clippers against Miami in the afternoon, Lakers against Orlando at night. Wonder how many people were at both games?

    8) Over last three years, #1 seeds are 6-0SU in the divisional round (3-3 vs spread). Over last five years, underdogs are 11-7-1 vs spread in all games of the divisional round- 49ers-Panthers game was a pick ‘em in 2013.

    7) Jacksonville promoted interim coach Doug Marrone to head coach, hired Tom Coughlin as an executive, and gave their GM a 2-year contract extension.

    6) Branden Grace finished last at the SBS Tournament of Champions this weekend at Kapalua; he cashed a check for $61,000. Winning a PGA Tour event has many bonuses, this being one of them, a spot in the TOC that guarantees you a nice check for the next year.

    5) I’d like to see an NBA team skip having gameday walk-thrus, see if it helped keep players fresher, both mentally/physically. Walk-thrus became a thing in the 70’s. Just wondering if the game would be crisper if players were only in the gym once a day on game day.

    4) Minnesota Vikings fired QB coach Scott Turner, who is Norv Turner’s son. Norv may have to take another OC job in order to get his son another job.

    3) Wake Forest has lost 25 ACC road games in a row. No bueno.

    2) Georgetown 83, St John’s 55— Red Storm are impossible to handicap; they get crushed in this game, after they won by 33 at Syracuse, and upset Butler. Hoyas won by 28, didn’t appear to play that well.

    1— Pelicans 110, Knicks 96— So you want to be an NBA coach? Derrick Rose was a no-show and didn’t call; he had Knick officials concerned enough that they checked his apartment. Apparently he had a family issue and went back to Chicago.

    I hope Rose and his family/friends are all healthy.

    That said, Derrick Rose is making $21,323,250 this year, or $260,039.63 per game. In this day and age, if you cannot text/call a teammate, coach or the GM when you’re going to miss a game, then you shouldn’t be paid for that game. Its not that hard.

    Quote of the Day

    “I mean, I don’t really want to talk too much about it because I don’t really know what the situation is,. Obviously Derrick is one of our better players. And when he is not here it is tough. But I am just happy that everything is OK with him.”
    Joakim Noah, on Derrick Rose’s absence Monday night
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  6. #36
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    Steelers brace for Chiefs at KC
    January 9, 2017


    PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers won a rematch from the regular season in the wild card round of the playoffs. Now their opponent in the divisional round will try to do the same against the Steelers.

    The Steelers will travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. In the first meeting at Heinz Field on Oct. 2, the Steelers routed the Chiefs 43-14.

    "I think we came in with the mindset that those guys beat us earlier in the year, but I feel like we're in the playoffs now and we can't let them beat us again," said running back Le'Veon Bell, who rushed for a franchise playoff record of 167 yards in the Steelers' 30-12 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. "I think Kansas City is going to come in with that same mindset. We have to understand that. We have to understand that the same passion and dedication that we put in this week to beat Miami, that's how Kansas City is going to try to beat us.

    "We have to put that much more time in to our detail. We have to do all the little things right because they're going to try to take the things away that we did well last game and make us beat them a different way. Also, Kansas City got better over the course of the year. It's going to be a very good game. We're playing in a hostile environment. It's going to be very loud there."

    The Steelers dominated the first game against the Chiefs from the outset. It was 22-0 at the end of the first quarter and 29-0 at halftime.

    Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had one of his best games of the season. He was 22 of 27 for 300 yards and five touchdown passes. Bell had 144 yards on 18 carries.

    But this game will be played at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs were 6-2 during the regular season. Kansas City's two home losses came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans, two teams that did not qualify for the playoffs.

    The Steelers and Chiefs met once previously in the playoffs. The Chiefs beat the Steelers 27-24 in overtime in January 1994 after Pittsburgh blew a 17-7 halftime lead.

    REPORT CARD VS. DOLPHINS

    PASSING OFFENSE:
    A-minus -- It's a good day when your first incomplete pass hits the ground in the fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger completed his first 11 passes and finished 13 for 18 for 197 yards and two touchdowns. The passing game wasn't as in sync in the second half, but the Steelers had long since focused on allowing Le'Veon Bell to take the game over with his running. Roethlisberger's early success against Dolphins' secondary set that up. His touchdown passes of 50 and 62 yards to Antonio Brown backed the Miami secondary off the line of scrimmage and forced them to respect the passing game for the remainder of the game.

    RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- It's also a good day when you set a franchise record for rushing yards when you play for the most successful NFL team of all-time. That's what Bell did when he rushed for 167 yards on 29 carries. He also scored two touchdowns. It was the type of dominating performance the Steelers have come to expect from Bell, who went over 100 yards on the ground in five of the final six games he played in during the regular season.

    PASS DEFENSE: B -- On a day the Steelers shut down running back Jay Ajayi, one might think the pass defense would have excelled, too. But that wasn't the case. Backup quarterback Matt Moore completed 29 of 36 passes for 289 yards and a touchdown. The only saving grace for the Steelers is they were able to turn Moore over. Ryan Shazier intercepted him once and James Harrison and Mike Mitchell had strip sacks. If not for those turnovers it would have been a much closer game.

    RUSH DEFENSE: A -- All the defenders heard all week was how Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns when the Steelers played in Miami in mid-October. They made sure they didn't have to hear about him after the playoff game. Ajayi had 33 yards on 16 carries for a 2.1 average. His longest run of the day was eight yards. For the game, the Dolphins finished the game with 52 yards on 16 carries.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Pittsburgh's special teams are a mess. The starting field position for their first three drives was as follows: 15-, 10- and 17-yard lines. Luckily for the Steelers, they scored touchdowns on all three drives, but the special teams hindered their chances rather than help them. The punt return team had a holding penalty that put the Steelers on the 10, and the kickoff return team only managed to get the ball to the 15 and 17. The special teams have been a problem all season, and coach Mike Tomlin doesn't appear to have any answers.

    COACHING: D -- Head coach Mike Tomlin had his players ready to compete and the coordinators had strong game plans to defeat the Dolphins, but the decision by Tomlin to keep quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the game until the end was unnecessary and inexcusable if Roethlisberger's right foot injury is serious. Even if it's not, Tomlin deserves to be criticized because he unnecessarily put his team's postseason in jeopardy. The Steelers led by 24 and 18 points in the fourth quarter, and Tomlin pulled running back Le'Veon Bell. Not only did Tomlin keep Roethlisberger in the game, but he had him passing. The injury occurred when Cameron Wake dragged him down from behind.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Roethlisberger downplays foot injury
    January 9, 2017


    Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out of the walking boot on his right foot after an MRI exam Monday showed "nothing severe" to an old injury suffered in Sunday's AFC wild-card game.

    Big Ben is downplaying the late-game injury that landed him in a walking boot after Sunday's 30-12 win over the Miami Dolphins, telling Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook that it was merely for precaution and his right foot fine. Cook is co-host of the "Ben Roethlisberger Show" on 93.7 The Fan.

    "(The MRI) showed I aggravated an old foot fracture but nothing severe," Roethisberger wrote to Cook in an email Monday. "I should be good to go."

    The Steelers will travel to play the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday's AFC divisional-round playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium.

    ESPN reported that Roethlisberger avoided major damage and is still slated to start against the Chiefs.

    Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake appeared to roll over Roethlisberger's foot on a tackle attempt with 4:34 left in the fourth quarter. Roethlisberger attempted a pass while on the move and was intercepted by cornerback Xavien Howard.

    "You're always worried about being hurt, but I'll be out there next week," Roethlisberger said after the game.

    Roethlisberger finished 13 of 18 for 197 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

    "I don't know if they had a conversation about staying in or out, but I love being out there with the guys," Roethlisberger said Sunday when asked about remaining in the game while the Steelers were up three scores.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Steelers RB Bell conjures up memories
    January 9, 2017


    PITTSBURGH -- Running back Le'Veon Bell has drawn comparisons to Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk because of his ability to run and catch out of the backfield.

    After Bell rushed for a franchise playoff-record 167 yards in a 30-12 victory against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger compared Bell to another Pro Football Hall of Famer.

    "Well, I think he brings a little bit of everything to the table," Roethlisberger said. "There are times when he is patient. Like I am standing back there and I am watching and I am like, 'Uh, are you going to go any time here?' But he is so patient and then when he needs to put his head down and run someone over, he does that. He is a powerful back.

    "If he gets one-on-one with a guy in the hole or just beyond, I get the best view in the house."

    Roethlisberger reference one of his former backup quarterbacks to lavish high praise on Bell, who set the franchise record by rushing for 236 yards against Buffalo last month.

    "I'll never forget when Charlie Batch was here, he used to always tell me about how he would hand off and just watch Barry Sanders," Roethlisberger said. "I am not trying to put Le'Veon with Barry Sanders yet, you know that is an awesome honor. But, it is fun to sit and watch and just see what he is going to do because he is incredibly talented."

    In six of his past seven games, Bell has rushed for 118 yards or more. In the one game that he was held under 100 yards in that span, he posted 93 in a win at Cincinnati.

    "The second half of the season, Le'Veon has been on such a tear because people are really trying to make us one-dimensional, whether that is the run or the pass," Roethlisberger said. "They are trying to take away the big play. From what we see on film and stuff, teams try and bleed slow, you know, and give us the run.

    "Not trying to give up the big pass play and so we have been able to utilize Le'Veon so much and (Sunday) I think the first two series we came out throwing it and really kind of backed them off, and then that opens up Le'Veon and the guys in the run game."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL viewership down 7 percent
    January 9, 2017


    NEW YORK (AP) Average TV viewership for the four NFL wild-card telecasts was down about 7 percent from a year ago - in line with lower ratings during the regular season, but also perhaps a result of four routs this time.

    According to numbers released Monday by the league, the weekend's playoff games averaged about 30.3 million viewers, compared with about 32.7 million for those games in January 2016.

    The most-watched game this year was on Sunday night, when the Packers beat the Giants 38-13, drawing a 21.3 household rating and 39.3 million viewers nationally. The equivalent game last year - Green Bay beating Washington 35-18 on Sunday night - got a 21.8 household rating and 38.9 million viewers.

    One factor that frequently affects how many people watch a sporting event is the competitiveness, and there's been little of that so far in the 2017 postseason. The 19-point average margin of victory in the four games - none was closer than 13 - made it the most lopsided first round of the playoffs since 1981.

    Last year, the average point difference in the wild-card round was 12.5. One game was decided by one point, another by two.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Chiefs again chasing rare playoff win at Arrowhead Stadium
    January 9, 2017


    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Andy Reid could spend hours waxing poetic about playing at Arrowhead Stadium.

    He'll extoll the virtues of the crowd, which set a Guinness World Record last season for loudest outdoor stadium in the world.

    He'll praise the die-hards that show up hours before kickoff, pouring into the parking lot and creating a college-like atmosphere on game days.

    He'll point out that the venue is one of the toughest places for an opponent to play.

    What Reid won't discuss, either by choice or by ignorance, is the fact that the Chiefs have not won a postseason game in their 44-year-old home in more than two decades.

    ''I love bringing teams in here,'' Reid said Monday, ''and now a playoff game - it was rocking and rolling that game where they set the decibel record. The ground was shaking. And I can't wait for this.''

    The Chiefs welcome the Steelers on Sunday in the divisional round of the playoffs, a rematch of a lopsided Week 4 loss in Pittsburgh.

    It's the first time Kansas City has hosted a playoff game since 2011, when the Ravens romped to a 30-7 victory, and the first time there has been a divisional round matchup at the stadium pitched just off Interstate 70 since a loss to Indianapolis on Jan. 11, 2004.

    Not surprisingly, the Chiefs are gearing up for a big weekend.

    Team president Mark Donovan spent time Monday discussing the game-day events that are planned, and how parking lots will open for eager tailgaters earlier than normal. Donovan said tickets were sold out and that the crowd could be one of the biggest and loudest in years.

    But asked about the Chiefs' playoff futility at home, Donovan was caught a bit speechless.

    ''I don't know if you have to win games to restore or solidify the iconic nature of Arrowhead,'' he said. ''I had the good fortune of working for the NFL and traveling to all the markets and being in all the stadiums, and there's something special about Arrowhead, and the playoffs will magnify that.''

    Perhaps that's true, but that ''special'' feeling has nothing to do with playoff history.

    Kansas City has lost four straight home playoff games, three of them in the divisional round, since beating the Steelers - coincidentally enough - in the wild-card round on Jan. 8, 1994.

    Three of them were one-possession games, only underlining the frustration experienced at home.

    In fact, the Chiefs have only won two playoff games at home in their history, even though they proudly remind people that they were a founding member of the old AFL. The other came against the then-Los Angeles Raiders in 1991, also in the wild-card round.

    Their saving grace may be that Reid and Co. were not around for any of those letdowns, and the longtime Eagles coach has actually fared quite well in defending the home turf. He was 7-4 in postseason games played in Philadelphia, many of those wins coming in the divisional round.

    Since arriving in Kansas City, Reid is 23-9 in four seasons at Arrowhead Stadium.

    ''We know the fans will be here and do their part, and now we have to do our part,'' Reid said. ''Rain, snow, it doesn't matter. They'll be here and do their thing and that's exciting.''

    Make no mistake: Playing a home game sure beats the alternative.

    The Chiefs haven't exactly been good anywhere in the playoffs, losing eight straight games before a win in Houston last January.

    But their regular season-ending win in San Diego coupled with Oakland's loss to Denver gave them the benefit of a home game - along with a much-needed week off.

    Now, the Steelers have to turn around after their lopsided wild-card win over Miami and catch a flight to Kansas City, where they have lost three of their past four games.

    ''It's loud. It's the loudest stadium I've ever played in, them and Seattle,'' Steelers right tackle Marcus Gibert said.

    ''They came here early on in the year and felt a little embarrassed by how they played in all three phases. We don't expect to see that this time around.''

    Notes: Reid said OLB Justin Houston (knee) and RB Spencer Ware (ribs) would practice as usual this week. Asked whether that means both will play Sunday, he replied: ''Just practice and see how they do.'' ... MLB Justin March-Lillard has not played since early in the season, when he broke his hand. But he came off IR a few weeks ago and could play Sunday. ''We'll see,'' Reid said, ''just see how that works.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Patriots stay focused on Texans in playoff rematch
    January 9, 2017


    Bill Belichick and his coaches will spend this week convincing Patriots players that the Texans team headed to Gillette Stadium for Saturday night's AFC divisional playoff game is a far cry from the Houston squad that New England shut out 27-0 back in Week 3.

    That Thursday night affair saw rookie and third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett lead the home team to an impressive, three-phase victory over Bill O'Brien's overmatched visitor.

    But with Houston having dispatched the Oakland Raiders 27-17 in an AFC wild-card game last Saturday, the Texans have earned a return trip to Foxborough with the season on the line.

    The Patriots, a team once again led by Tom Brady, have already been installed as a 16-point favorite. But neither the point-spread nor the early-season shutout will be a focal point for New England's preparations this week.

    "I think we all evolve as the season goes on. Playing a game that early in the season, I mean, there are some things you learn from it, but honestly, they've improved in a lot of different areas," Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said.

    Houston finished the regular season with the NFL's top-ranked defense based on yards. The group, led by first-time Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney and an impressive corps of linebackers in Benardrick McKinney, Brian Cushing and Whitney Mercilus, gave up the fewest first downs in the league, was 11th in third downs and points allowed and tied with the Patriots for eighth in red zone defense.

    "This is a defense that doesn't give you anything easy," McDaniels continued. "You're going to have to execute a lot of plays to drive the ball and get points. They make you earn everything you get -- first down, second down, third down, red zone, short yardage, very few big plays allowed. They're physical, they're aggressive."

    "We're going to need a great week of preparation. It's going to be a big challenge for us. They've already won a playoff game. They should have a lot of confidence, deservingly so, based on the way they've played."

    Defensively New England will likely face Brock Osweiler, the once-again Texans quarterback, and a Houston attack that finished the regular season 29th in total offense and tied for 28th in points scored. But, coordinator Matt Patricia is clearly intent on taking nothing for granted.

    "Coach (Bill) O'Brien and George Godsey, the offensive coordinator, are two guys that I have the most respect for in the entire league. These guys work extremely hard to get their team ready to go and prepare," Patricia said. "I'll say one of the other differences -- there's a little bit of tempo with the offense now. There's going to be some at the line of scrimmage offense that they try to run and try to catch the defense in a particular look, which obviously gives you a lot of problems in pace and tempo and snap counts and all those different things too, so it's a huge challenge."

    Clearly both teams are different heading into the second round of the postseason than the ones that did battle in September.

    Unfortunately for Houston, New England is significantly better at this point. First and foremost, Brady is back under center. He's developed maybe his deepest, most diverse corps of targets in years. And the Patriots' stout, opportunistic defense has made huge strides over the second half of the season.

    Whether you base it on a Week 3 beatdown or where the teams have come since that point, New England is a heavy favorite to open another potential Super Bowl run. But the guys drawing up the game plans on both sides of the ball will be taking nothing for granted, a message they'll be instilling (brainwashing?) into their players all week.

    "I think that really honestly with Houston because it was so long ago in the season and I think our team, their team is -- I don't want to say changed but it has changed. The situations have changed," Patricia concluded. "They're obviously coming in here coming off a big win this past weekend, a lot of energy, a lot of confidence so I would say we just try to attack it from the standpoint of, 'Hey, this is this week's game and it's not the same as the last time we played them,' if that makes any sense, and it's just a situation where you try to attack them fresh."

    "We're going to focus on today's meetings, tomorrow's practices, those types of things that will help us get better this week and try to go out there and play our best football of the season on Saturday night."

    Even if it may not take nearly that much to take care of business against a Texans squad that, at least on paper, doesn't appear close to being ready to upset the Patriots at Gillette in January.

    Based on what Brady has been saying, though, the players are already falling in line with the company line of thought this week.

    "I think this is a day-to-day league," Brady said in his weekly Monday morning radio interview on WEEI. "It really doesn't matter last time we played them or last year because things change so much with the game and a game plan and players. ... You put together the process and the winning formula and you need to go out and execute it. If you don't execute it, you lose."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Quinn downplays personal stake in Falcons-Seahawks rematch
    January 9, 2017


    FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Falcons coach Dan Quinn is determined to make sure he's not the story in Saturday's NFC divisional-round playoff game against Seattle, his former team.

    Quinn spoke briefly on Monday about his personal connection to Seattle and then offered a polite request.

    ''Hopefully for everyone listening that will be the last question we hear about it this week,'' Quinn said.

    Quinn, the Seahawks' former defensive coordinator, took Atlanta to the NFC South title and a wild-card round bye in his second season as coach.

    He made his first return to Seattle on Oct. 16, when the Seahawks rallied for a 26-24 win. A trip to the NFC championship game will be on the line Saturday, and Quinn said that overshadows any personal motivations in the rematch against Seattle and his former boss, Pete Carroll.

    ''I so never wanted the spotlight to be about me,'' Quinn said. ''I want it to be about our team and the way they compete and the toughness they have.''

    He acknowledged that he's glad he already has his first game against his former team out of the way.

    ''Anytime you go through something for the first time, I am glad that game got out of the way,'' Quinn said. ''... Let's hope through the years we battle a bunch of times against them. I sense that will be the case.''

    Seattle beat Detroit 26-6 in the wild-card round on Saturday night.

    The Seahawks allowed the fewest points in the league and won the Super Bowl in 2013, Quinn's first season as defensive coordinator. That success helped make him an attractive candidate when the Falcons were looking for a coach after the 2014 season.

    The Falcons missed the playoffs at 8-8 in Quinn's first season before earning the NFC's No. 2 seed at 11-5 this season.

    Quinn said his familiarity with the Seahawks is a only a minor part of the behind-the-scenes strategy and gamesmanship.

    ''I know that you know that I know - there's definitely some of that,'' he said. ''... The fun part about it is come kickoff time the guys between the white lines are the ones playing it.''

    Veteran offensive guard Chris Chester said Quinn ''doesn't get too caught up'' in personal incentives.

    ''Maybe there's something there, but I know that what we're going for is more important than any extra emotional motivation,'' Chester said. ''What we're trying to accomplish is bigger than going against an old team.''

    Quinn's postseason success is important for an Atlanta team that hasn't had a playoff win since beating the Seahawks in the divisional round in 2012. The Falcons are 1-4 in the playoffs with Matt Ryan at quarterback , including a loss to the 49ers in the 2012 NFC championship game.

    Quinn said the remake of the team's culture is complete.

    ''Having a team identity, having a real clear vision of how you want to play, you'd like for that to happen overnight,'' he said. ''But it takes time to build that. Our team is very tight, very connected. ... We have a real good understanding of who we are and how we want to play.''

    NOTES: Quinn expects all players, including WR Taylor Gabriel (foot), TE Austin Hooper (knee) and CB Robert Alford (knee) to practice on Tuesday. Alford was limited in some speed work on Monday but Quinn said Alford's movement was encouraging.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Wednesday’s six-pack

    Longest shots to win the 2017 World Series:

    150-1— Cincinnati Reds

    100-1— Brewers-Rays-Diamondbacks

    80-1— A’s-Padres-Twins

    75-1— Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies

    60-1— Los Angles Angels

    50-1— Colorado Rockies, Chicago White Sox

    Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings……


    13) Milwaukee Bucks came into the NBA in 1968; they went 27-55 in their first season, but 56-26 in their second season, then 68-16 with an NBA title in their third season.

    This is fairly graphic evidence that Kareem Adbul-Jabbar is the greatest basketball player ever; they won a coin flip with the Phoenix Suns for the top pick in the ’69 draft and the right to select Kareem. Add in his 88-2 record as a college player, and you get the point.

    They outlawed the dunk in college basketball because of Kareem.

    No one dominated the sport like Abdul-Jabbar did, but because he has a surly personality, doesn’t do a lot of commercials, he fell out of public consciousness, unlike Michael Jordan, whose Jordan Brand shoes/apparel is still a huge money maker for Nike.

    Then there is this: freshmen were ineligible to play college ball back then. UCLA won the national title when Kareem was a senior in high school— his freshman team beat the UCLA varsity by 20 that year, and the UCLA varsity was the defending national champs.

    12) Underdogs were 25-15-1 vs spread in bowl games this season.

    11) ACC went 9-3 in bowl games; they were underdog in seven of the 12 games.

    10) Alabama RB Josh Scarbrough broke his leg in Monday night’s game, which no doubt will be brought up next year if/when a running back sits out a bowl game to keep himself healthy for the NFL Draft.

    9) Wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if college football scrapped the rule that says the clock stops after every first down. National title game took over four hours to play and ratings were a bit down, even though it was a great game. Knee-jerk reaction will be to shorten games.

    My theory on the ratings being down? Two teams from the south played; people in other regions of the country aren’t as interested if their teams aren’t playing.

    8) College football coaches don’t go on vacation now that the games are over; National Signing Day is February 1, three weeks from today, so coaches will be working their butts off on the phone between now and then, recruiting players who will win games down the road.

    Games that will be played from 2018-2021 will be partially determined by who signs where on February 1st. Football recruiting is a big. big business.

    7) Giants’ DE Jason Pierre-Paul says he won’t sign a 1-year contract next season; what happens if no one offers him a multi-year deal? Will he retire?

    6) March is going to feel a little different this year; the ACC tournament is in Brooklyn, for some reason. The Big 14 tourney is in Washington DC because of Maryland being in the league, but it doesn’t make much sense. Big 14 should have their tournament in the midwest; the ACC tourney should be somewhere on Tobacco Road.

    5) I worked for New York State for 34 years in a mundane office job; if I needed a day off that I hadn’t asked for previously, had to call in sick and tell a person in charge that I wasn’t coming in that day. Failure to do so meant you went LWOP (Leave With-Out Pay), meaning there would be no pay for that day— I never did that once in 34 years.

    My job wasn’t very important, certainly not as critical to my agency as a point guard is to an NBA team. Derrick Rose didn’t bother to call/text the Knicks Monday, when he flew to Chicago and missed their game; when they called him, he couldn’t be bothered to answer the phone.

    I’m very curious how much the team fined him, but no one is saying. Rose makes a little over $260,000 PER GAME- he is a free agent this summer. I’m curious where he’ll wind up.

    4) Quick work-related story from my mediocre career with New York State- this happened back in the late 80’s. I was 28 or 29 at the time.

    In mid-afternoon on a Thursday, this is in mid-October, my boss’ boss calls me into her office. She was kind of a stern woman, we had very little interaction, but she had a job for me to do.

    “We need a World Series pool and I want you to run it. You think you can do that?”

    I’m trying not to laugh as I sat there, but quickly agreed and went about my duty and we had a good World Series pool that year. Sometimes, working for the government was fun.

    3) Tuesday’s college hoop:
    — West Virginia 89, Baylor 68— Bears lasted one day at #1- they had 29 turnovers.
    — Villanova 79, Xavier 54— Surprisingly easy win for the Wildcats.
    — Kentucky 87, Vanderbilt 81— Commodores had their chances in last minute.
    — Florida State 88, Duke 72– Seminoles are 4-0 in ACC for first time.

    2) Oakland Raiders let OC Bill Musgrave walk after his contract expired, promoted QB coach Todd Dowling to OC, telling the world they think Dowling was more responsible for Derek Carr’s improved play than Musgrave was. Interesting decision.

    1— Remember Warrick Dunn, the running back for the Buccaneers? His mom was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty, when Dunn was 18. He used her life insurance to buy a house for himself and four younger siblings- there was no father in the picture.

    After Dunn became an NFL player, he started a charity that has put 152 families into affordable homes, just great work. If there was a People Hall of Fame, Dunn would be in it.

    Back in 2006, one of the families Dunn’s charity gave a home to was Clemson QB Deshaun Watson’s family.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL opening line report: Patriots open as massive favorites, line pushes higher

    “The Patriots are the highest power-rated team in the NFL, going up against the worst playoff team left. We figured we couldn’t make this line high enough."

    Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (-4)

    Seattle had an up-and-down finish to the regular season, but looked the part of a playoff-tested team Saturday in the wild card game. The third-seeded Seahawks (11-5-1 SU, 9-8 ATS) coasted past Detroit 26-6 as an 8-point home chalk.

    Now, the vaunted Seattle defense will be tested by an Atlanta offense that led the league, averaging 33.8 points per game. The Falcons (11-5 SU, 10-6 ATS) earned the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, finishing the regular season on a 4-0 SU run (3-1 ATS). Atlanta dropped New Orleans 38-32 in the finale as a 7.5-point home favorite.

    These two teams met at Seattle in October, with the Seahawks squeaking out a 26-24 win as a 7-point fave.

    “We posted Falcons -4 and 49.5. As expected, we’re seeing the public jump on the ‘dog in this game, as the bet count and money are on Seattle so far, which is fine,” Childs said Saturday night. “I really like this Falcons team, and I have no problem booking early Seahawks money here. The Falcons off a bye, they’ll be as healthy as they’ve been all year.

    “What the public is forgetting is how poorly the Seahawks finished their regular season, yet the betting public is willing to forget the Seahawks’ weaknesses after beating up a very bad Lions team at home. The same betting public that faded the Seahawks (on Saturday) is now backing them against the far superior team, the same team that should have beaten Seattle in Seattle if not for an awful missed pass-interference call in the waning moments of that game.”

    Childs said there was some Sunday support for the Falcons, pushing the number to 4.5.

    “Now we’re seeing some real nice two-way action.”

    Houston Texans at New England Patriots (-14.5)

    Fourth-seeded Houston may have won its wild card game with relative ease on Saturday, but it came against an Oakland team missing star quarterback Derek Carr, and the oddsmakers were not impressed. The Texans (10-7 SU, 7-9-1 ATS) posted a 27-14 home victory laying 4 points against the Raiders. Brock Osweiler, benched a few weeks back, had a serviceable game with no turnovers and will remain the starter this week.

    New England led the NFL both SU and ATS this season, at 14-2 and 13-3, respectively, earning the bye week as the AFC’s top seed. The Patriots won their last seven in a row (6-1 ATS), including a 35-14 bashing of fellow playoff team Miami giving 7.5 points on the road in Week 17.

    Patriots superstar Tom Brady, suspended the first four games of the season for Deflategate, has 28 touchdown passes against just two interceptions this season. Osweiler has 15 TD passes and 16 interceptions.

    “We opened the Pats -14.5, and that’s the highest playoff number that I can remember,” Childs said. “If memory serves me correct, you’d have to go back all the way to when the NFC was dominating Super Bowls to find an opening line in that range, and that was back in the 1990s. Bottom line, the Texans beat up on a third-string QB (Connor Cook) who was making his first career NFL start Saturday. It was an awful situation for the Raiders, and it showed.

    “The Patriots are the highest power-rated team in the NFL, going up against the worst playoff team left. We figured we couldn’t make this line high enough, and while we discussed opening 14, we wanted to err on the side of caution. If we happen to take early money on the dog, it would be welcomed.”

    What’s happened instead is the line has already shot up to New England -16.

    Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (+2.5)

    Pittsburgh has now peeled off eight consecutive SU victories, going 6-1-1 ATS in that stretch. On Sunday in the wild card game, the third-seeded Steelers (12-5 SU, 10-6-1 ATS) blew past Miami 30-12 as a hefty 11-point home favorite. The Dolphins were without QB Ryan Tannehill, and Matt Moore was totally over-matched, throwing one INT, losing a pair of fumbles and taking five sacks.

    Kansas City (12-4 SU, 9-7 ATS) nabbed the second seed and a bye week by winning the AFC West in a tiebreaker over Oakland. The Chiefs got out of the gate 2-2 SU and ATS, with the last of those four games a 43-14 beatdown at the hands of Pittsburgh, with K.C. a 3-point road ‘dog. However, Andy Reid’s troops went 10-2 SU (8-4 ATS) the rest of the way, topping San Diego 37-27 laying 5.5 points on the road in the regular-season finale.

    “The Steelers are fresh off a dominating win over the hapless Dolphins. Miami came into that game with all kinds of injuries, especially on the offensive line, and it showed. They couldn’t protect their second-string QB, and the game got out of hand early,” Childs said. “The betting public is going to be very impressed with the Steelers’ showing (Sunday), and while I personally made the game pick ’em, there’s no doubt in my mind that the public is going to back the Steelers in this game, so we opened them a bit inflated. I believe the sharps are going to back the Chiefs big time, taking the home dog and the points.”

    That’s precisely what happened early on. Sportsbook.ag opened Pittsburgh -2.5, and the line quickly flipped all the way to KC -2 before settling at Chiefs -1.5 Sunday night.

    “It’s going to be a game where the pros will be butting heads with the Joes, with sharps on the Chiefs and Joe Q. Public on the Steelers,” Childs said.

    Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-4.5)

    Green Bay is nearly as hot as Pittsburgh, as it now owns a seven-game SU winning streak (6-1 ATS). The Packers rumbled over New York on Sunday, 38-13 as a 5-point home favorite in the NFC’s 4-5 matchup. Aaron Rodgers has 19 TD passes and no interceptions during the Packers’ surge, including three straight four-TD games heading into Dallas.

    The Cowboys (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS) claimed the NFC East title and the No. 1 seed, getting this past weekend off. After losing its season opener, Dallas ripped off 11 consecutive SU wins and beat the spread in the first nine of those games, riding rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott. In Week 17, with the top seed wrapped up, the Cowboys rested those two and more, losing at Philadelphia 27-13 as a 6.5-point pup.

    TheGreek.com opened Dallas a 4.5-point home chalk and decided to move to 4 within a few minutes, with Green Bay at a price of -115.

    “We took some money on the Cowboys, and now were at Dallas -4 (-115),” Kaminsky said. “It’s a great game. I don’t know how the number is gonna go. I know that I loved the Packers against the Giants, because I just like playing hot teams. But conversely, I like Dallas here.

    “I hate to go against Rodgers, because he’s point-blank one of the top three quarterbacks of my era. I just think the Packers are gonna have a tough time stopping Elliott, and if Dak plays a decent game, I think the Cowboys are gonna cover. The week off is a big factor, too.”
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    Wiseguys are advising that these NFL divisional round lines are going to move

    Atlanta’s offense is really good, especially at home where Atlanta averaged more than 36 in its final four regular season games.

    Game to bet now

    Houston at New England (-15.5)


    All playoff games are not created equal, and while the other three this weekend could reasonably go either way, there just seems to be no way that the Texans can hang in this one. Houston was not a good road team (2-6) this season, with one of the losses a 27-0 turtle job in New England in a game in which Tom Brady didn’t even play. New England has had two weeks of R&R time to get ready for this one, so it’s hard to see Houston making this one competitive. If Houston has any shot, it would be by pressuring Brady up with the gut and taking away the middle of the field (that worked for the Jets a few years back). Somehow the line which opened at 16 has melted down a half point as jubilant Houston fans celebrate the fact that Brock Osweiler did not spit the bit too much against the Raiders last weekend. It’s unlikely to move any more.

    Game to wait on

    Green Bay at Dallas (-4)


    On occasion fans tend to overreact to wild card round victories, and that might explain the heavy money placed on the Packers in early wagering. But Green Bay was dominant in a 25-point victory over the Giants on Sunday, and Packers fans hope that the great play of Aaron Rodgers, and tons of momentum, are enough to carry them past the Cowboys in Dallas. When Dallas is good – and the Boys haven’t been this good in a while – it always draws heavy national money, so the betting figures to level off. With so much action expected on this premier game, cautious bettors might want to hang on a bit and see if they can catch a line that might move a half-point in their favor as kickoff nears.

    Total to watch

    Seattle at Atlanta (51)


    The number on this one has already moved from 49 to 51, perhaps a sign that bettors are looking more closely at the Falcons and starting to realize that Atlanta’s offense is really good, especially at home where Atlanta averaged more than 36 in its final four regular season games. Matt Ryan’s rep has taken hits over the last several years as the Falcons couldn’t get any traction, but this season he’s the potential league MVP and has the best stats this side of Tom Brady. The Falcons won their last four games to earn the bye, and the key in each of those games was getting off to a fast start. If that happens again, the teams could easily blow past 51.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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