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Thread: The Bum's 2017 NFL Trends/Stats/News/Picks Thru The Super Bowl

  1. #901
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    Total Talk - DP Saturday
    January 12, 2018


    Wild Card Recap

    The ‘under’ went 3-1 in last week's Wild Card round and while two of the results were never in doubt, the Titans and Chiefs were on pace at halftime (21-3) to go to the high side but Kansas City failed to score in the final 30 minutes. Including those results, the ‘under’ has gone 17-5-1 in the first round of the last six seasons.

    Divisional Playoff History


    The ‘over’ went 3-1 in the Divisional Playoffs last season and we’ve seen now totals go 8-8 the last four years in this round. From 2010 through 2012, there was an ‘over’ surge with an 11-1 record to the high side. New England will be making its eighth straight appearance in this round while Atlanta is showing up for the second consecutive season and they’re both in action on Saturday. Philadelphia and Tennessee haven’t played in this Divisional Playoffs since the 2008 postseason.

    TOTAL HISTORY (2010-2016)

    2016 (OVER 3-1) 2015 (TOTAL 2-2)
    Seattle 20 Atlanta 36 - OVER 51.5 Kansas City 20 New England 27 - OVER 44
    Houston 16 New England 34 - OVER 44.5 Green Bay 20 Arizona 26 - UNDER 49.5
    Pittsburgh 18 Kansas City 16 - UNDER 45.5 Seattle 24 Carolina 31 - OVER 42
    Green Bay 34 Dallas 31 - OVER 53.5 Pittsburgh 16 Denver 23 - UNDER 41.5

    2014 (TOTAL 2-2) 2013 (UNDER 3-1)
    Baltimore 31 New England 35 - OVER 47.5 New Orleans 15 Seattle 23 - UNDER 44
    Carolina 17 Seattle 31 - OVER 40 Indianapolis 22 New England 43 - OVER 51
    Dallas 21 Green Bay 26 - UNDER 52.5 San Francisco 23 Carolina 10 - UNDER 41
    Indianapolis 24 Denver 13 - UNDER 52.5 San Diego 17 Denver 24 - UNDER 55

    2012 (OVER 4-0) 2011 (OVER 3-1)
    Baltimore 38 Denver 35 - OVER 44 New Orleans 32 San Francisco 36 - OVER 46.5
    Green Bay 31 San Francisco 45 - OVER 45 Denver 10 New England 45 - OVER 50
    Seattle 28 Atlanta 30 - OVER 46 Houston 13 Baltimore 20 - UNDER 33
    Houston 28 New England 41 - OVER 50.5 N.Y. Giants 37 Green Bay 20 - OVER 54


    For the playoffs, I’m going to break down every game and offer up my quick handicap and predictions for all the matchups. For those keeping track, my leans were 3-3 in the Wild Card round. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

    Saturday, Jan. 13

    Atlanta at Philadelphia (NBC, 4:35 p.m. ET)


    The consensus opener on this game ranged from 43 to 44 and the sharps showed their hand right away and came in with a flurry of ‘under’ bets. Scott Cooley of BookMaker.eu offered his thoughts on the move. He said, “The under has definitely seen a ton of sharp money. But we've got the public mostly on the over so that's offsetting much of the liability.”

    As of Friday afternoon, the majority of books are holding 41 and it’s hard to disagree with downward move.

    The Falcons have watched the ‘under’ go 12-5 this season and they enter this game on a 6-0 run to the low side. Last Saturday, Atlanta shut down the league’s best offense as they stifled the Rams 26-13 at Los Angeles. The Falcons put together a great game plan and kept Los Angeles off the field with a dominating edge in time of possession (37-23 minutes).

    Philadelphia enters this game with the third ranked scoring offense at 28.6 points per game but a lot of that production came with Carson Wentz at quarterback. After he went down, Nick Foles looked like a formidable replacement as he tossed four touchdowns in a 34-29 road win over the Giants. Then he looked below average in home games against the Raiders and Cowboys as the offense only managed 12 points. When you look at those performances coupled with Atlanta’s road win last week, you can see why the Eagles are listed as home underdogs.

    Foles does have playoff experience, which came in 2013 in his first stint with the Eagles. Philadelphia dropped a 26-24 decision at home to New Orleans and he played rather well (23-of-33, 195 yards, 2 TDs) in the tight loss.

    Similar to the Falcons, the Eagles boast a great defense. The unit was ranked fourth in both total defense (306.5 YPG) and scoring (18.4 PPG) this season. At home, they were even better as they surrendered just 13.4 PPG at Lincoln Financial Field and that helped the ‘under’ go 5-3.

    These teams have met twice in the last three years. Atlanta earned a 26-24 win at home in 2015 while Philadelphia captured a 24-15 victory last season from the “Linc” as the defense stifled the Falcons to 303 yards and just 11 first downs as quarterback Matt Ryan couldn’t find any rhythm (18-of-33, 267 yards). The ‘under’ cashed in both of those games.

    Fearless Prediction: I’m going to play the ‘under’ (41) for the game and take the Falcons Team Total Under (21 ) as well. Atlanta has played back-to-back road games three times this season and they’ve averaged 18.3 PPG in the second contest. Plus, they’ve had trouble scoring touchdowns and that was evident last week with four field goals and two touchdowns versus the Rams. I believe Philadelphia will keep Atlanta in check and I would’ve taken the Eagles Team Total Under (19 ) as well but I believe the Birds defense could score or at least create more chances. The main trend that sticks out for the ‘under’ in the game is what Atlanta’s defense has done against top teams. Including last week’s win at the Rams, the Falcons have allowed 17.8 PPG in eight games against playoffs teams this season and the ‘under’ has cashed in all eight.

    Tennessee at New England (CBS, 8:15 p.m. ET)

    Can Tennessee go into Foxboro on Saturday night and slow down the Patriots? Based on the opening line of New England -13 and a total of 47, the oddsmakers certainly aren’t buying the Titans and it’s hard to make a case for the visitors in this particular playoff round.

    In the last six appearances in the Divisional Playoffs round, New England is averaging 37.5 PPG and not surprisingly the 'over' has gone 6-0 plus they covered five of those six games.

    2017 - New England 34 vs. Houston 16 (Over 44 )
    2016 - New England 27 vs. Kansas City 20 (Over 44 )
    2015 – New England 35 vs. Baltimore 31 (Over 47 )
    2014 – New England 43 vs. Indianapolis 22 (Over 51 )
    2013 - New England 41 vs. Houston 28 (Over 50)
    2012 – New England 45 vs. Denver 10 (Over 50 )


    Tennessee put forth a great effort last week as it won 22-21 against Kansas City despite turning the ball over twice. The Titans held the Chiefs to 69 rushing yards and they shut out Kansas City in the second-half. The unit was fortunate as the Chiefs lost tight end Travis Kelce to a concussion in the first-half. His absence was felt as Kansas City QB Alex Smith was 19-of-23 for 231 yards in the first 30 minutes but he only completed five passes in the second-half for 33 yards.

    The Tennessee defense has been great against the run (No. 4, 87.6 YPG) all season but the pass defense (No. 25, 240.2 YPG) has been suspect and that’s not great news when facing New England. The Patriots own the second-best passing attack in the league and they have the 10th ranked rushing offense (118.1 YPG).

    New England’s offense is based on QB Tom Brady’s arm and he’s had success in his career against Tennessee (6-0) plus he’s also diced up the Titans legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. In eight games when he’s been the DC of the opponent, Brady is 6-2 and the Patriots posted 37.5 PPG in the wins and 17.5 PPG in the two setbacks. LeBeau does like to pressure QBs and Tennessee was ranked fifth this season in sacks (43) plus they posted four against the Chiefs last week.

    Defensively, New England is still ranked near the bottom of the league in yards allowed (366 YPG, No. 28) but a lot of that damage came early in the season. The Patriots saw the ‘over’ cash in their first four games as they allowed 32 PPG. In the final 12 games, the ‘under’ went 10-2 and the defensive effort dropped to 14 PPG.

    Titans QB Marcus Mariota has the ability to run and bettors should make a note that Carolina’s Cam Newton (44 yards) and Houston’s Deshaun Watson (41 yards) kept the chains moving early in the season with their legs against the Patriots at Foxboro, plus they both passed for 300-plus yards.

    Unfortunately for Mariota, he doesn’t have the same type of weapons on offense that those teams have but maybe Tennessee head coach Mike Mularkey decides to let him loose this Saturday instead of trying to ground-and-pound with running back Derrick Henry.

    Knowing Tennessee is only averaging 20.9 PPG this season, it would be a bit of a surprise to see the Titans light up the scoreboard. However, the Titans have scored 30-plus points three times this season and they’ve gone 3-0 in those games with two of the wins coming against quality opponents (Jaguars, Seahawks).

    Fearless Prediction:
    The Patriots-Over combination in the Divisional Playoff round has been practically automatic and the ticket count will likely lean that way on Saturday and I think it's a mistake. I believe this Patriots team has an uphill climb this postseason and even though they’re the No. 1 seed in the AFC, they have thrown up some clunkers this season and most of them took place in night games. The Week 1 opening loss at Foxboro to Kansas City (42-27) was alarming plus the offense struggled in a tight road win at Tampa Bay (19-14) before losing at Miami (27-20) in a Monday Night matchup in December. The primetime games usually receive a ton of ‘over’ support and that creates inflated lines. Did you know the ‘under’ is 11-4-1 (73%) in the last 16 night games this season? I’m going to lean ‘under’ (48) for the game and New England Team Total Under (30 ) too. Also, I believe the Titans are going to score some points which has me leaning Tennessee Team Total Over (17 ) in this matchup.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #902
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    Total Talk - DP Sunday
    January 12, 2018


    The two Divisional Playoff round matchups on Sunday will be rematches from this year’s regular season as Pittsburgh and New Orleans will be looking to avenge losses to Jacksonville and Minnesota respectively.

    If you’re handicapping leans to experience, this will be the third trip in the last four seasons to the second round of the NFL Playoffs for the Steelers. Meanwhile, the Saints (2013), Vikings (2009) and Jaguars (2007) could be a tad nervous come Sunday.

    Similar to my first three playoff pieces, I’m going to break down every game and offer up my quick handicap and prediction for all the matchups. For those keeping track, my leans went 3-3 in the Wild Card round. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

    Sunday, Jan. 14

    Jacksonville at Pittsburgh (CBS, 1:05 p.m. ET)


    This total was sent out at 41 and the number has held steady all week with just a couple shops showing 41 as of Friday afternoon. The weather in Western Pennsylvania was in the high fifties on Friday but this game is expecting to be played around the thirties. No precipitation or serious wind is expected.

    In Week 5, Jacksonville posted an eye-opening 30-9 win over Pittsburgh as a 7 -point road underdog and the ‘under’ (41 ) was clearly the right side. The Jaguars led 7-6 at the break and actually trailed 9-7 in the third quarter before their defense took over. The unit blew the game open with a pair of interceptions for touchdowns before running back Leonard Fournette padded the margin and his stats with a 90-yard run late in the fourth quarter.

    Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tossed a career-high five interceptions in the loss and the Steelers couldn’t do anything on the ground, rushing for 70 yards on 20 attempts. Pittsburgh will have wide receiver Antonio Brown (calf) back in the lineup this Sunday and he did have 10 receptions for 157 yards in the first meeting against the Jaguars.

    Since that result, the Steelers have scored 20-plus points in 11 of their last 12 games and have posted 30 or more points four times during that span. Having that success on Sunday certainly won’t be easy against Jacksonville, who is ranked second defensively in scoring at 15.9 points per game, total yards (284.8) and sacks (57).

    That defensive production was key in its Wild Card round last Sunday as Jacksonville dropped Buffalo 10-3 at home and the ‘under’ (40) easily connected. The Jaguars have seen the ‘under’ cash in two straight games and is 9-8 on the season, largely due to the defense but lately the Jacksonville offense has been a mess.

    QB Blake Bortles hasn’t looked great the past three weeks and his confidence appears to be shaken too. Earlier this week he said to reporters, "Hopefully, we can throw less." It’s safe to say the entire team feels that way knowing the Jaguars led the league in rushing (142.2 YPG) and they’ll be facing a Steelers defense without linebacker Ryan Shazier. Since he went down with the spine injury, Pittsburgh has allowed 100-plus rushing yards in three of four games.

    The Steelers watched the ‘under’ go 10-5-1 this season but the ‘over’ was 5-3 at home. The one theme with Pittsburgh over the past few seasons that I’ve noticed is how it performs in the early Sunday games (1:00 p.m. ET). Tossing out the Week 17 meaningless game versus Cleveland, the Steelers only averaged 19.8 PPG in six other games played in this slot and that includes the aforementioned meeting versus Jacksonville. Not surprisingly, the ‘under’ cashed in all those games.

    Before you run to the betting counter and bang the low side, it should be noted that the Steelers have watched the ‘over’ go 8-1 in home playoff games with Big Ben at QB and the team has averaged 26.2 PPG in those games.

    Fearless Prediction: When you have totals this low, bettors normally have to put in a full 60-minute session and one or two big plays can turn the result upside down. I’m going to keep it simple and go with one ticket – Jacksonville Team Total Under (17). The Jaguars OFFENSE has scored 16, 17, 16 and 3 points in four games against playoff teams this season and two of those touchdowns came on long runs by Fournette. Barring more big plays from the Jaguars, I don’t see them finding the end zone more than once on Sunday.

    New Orleans at Minnesota (FOX, 4:40 p.m. ET)

    The last game on the board is always the most dangerous and the bookmakers have put themselves into a tough position with the total. Scott Cooley of BookMaker.eu admitted to VegasInsider.com that his shop made a slight mistake with their opener.

    He explained, “The total we'll be sweating the most is that Saints-Vikings. We opened too low, 44.5, and we just recently moved to 47. The smart guys know this is a great Vikings defense, but it is up against Drew Brees. And they also understand that this isn't your average Minnesota offense. It's creative and it can score points in bunches.”

    It is a little surprising to see the total go up knowing the Vikings are the league’s best defensive team in both scoring (15.8 PPG) and yards (275.9 YPG).

    Minnesota has only seen two totals listed above 47 all season and the totals went 1-1 in those games. The Vikings earned a 14-9 road win at Atlanta in Week 13 as the ‘under’ (48 ) connected easily and the other contest took place in Week 1 against New Orleans.

    The Vikings posted a 29-19 win over the Saints in the Monday Night opener and the ‘over’ (47 ) barely got there with a late score by New Orleans but the high side was definitely the right play. The pair combined for over 800 total offensive yards and 11 scores. It was a clean game as neither team turned the ball over but the difference was three short field goals by New Orleans (24, 21, 20) and leaving those points off the board cost the Saints.

    A lot has changed since that meeting, most notably New Orleans ability to run the football. The Vikings only allowed 60 rushing yards in the opener but the Saints finished the season ranked sixth (124.2 YPG) in rushing offense.

    New Orleans couldn’t get anything going on the ground (41 yards) last Sunday in its Wild Card win over Carolina and you wonder if it can muster up any yards against Minnesota’s run defense (83.6 YPG), which is ranked second in the league. Fortunately for New Orleans, QB Drew Brees had a great game (376 yards, 2 TDs) last week and the defense did enough to withstand a rally from the Panthers.

    Brees and the Saints offense (25.9 PPG) haven’t been as potent on the road and that’s translated into mixed total results (4-4). Helping a few of those ‘under’ tickets was the New Orleans defense. The offense gets all the headlines in ‘The Big Easy’ but the defense only allowed 20.7 PPG this season, compared to 28.4 PPG in 2016 and that’s a ridiculous improvement. On the road, the unit has been even better when it comes to scoring defense (18.2 PPG).

    I did find one seasonal trend on New Orleans that could help you handicapping the side on this matchup. The Saints went 4-0 as visitors when holding teams under 20 points but 0-4 when allowing 20 or more.

    Can the Vikings put up at least 20 on Sunday?

    Based on what we’ve seen this season, the answer would be ‘Yes’ but let’s be clear that Minnesota’s offense isn’t a juggernaut (23.9 PPG, No. 10). Backup QB Case Keenum has played great since taking over for the injured Sam Bradford and a lot of pundits are waiting for him to collapse but he closed the season with an 11-1 record and captured division title.

    Keenum reminds me of former San Francisco 49ers QB Jeff Garcia, another solid player that got the job done consistently yet never really amazed you. Keenum is very accurate (67.6%) and has the ability to make plays with his legs, something Bradford didn’t offer. It also helps to have a pair of great receivers (Thielen, Diggs) and a big tight end (Rudolph) as well.

    In seven home games, Keenum led the Vikings to 20-plus points in six of seven games but the ‘under’ went 5-2. That record was obviously helped with dominating defensive numbers (11.5 PPG) in those games.

    While Keenum has never started a playoff game, Brees has played in 12 and New Orleans has watched the ‘over’ go 9-3 in those games with him under center. In true road games, the Saints are 1-4 with Brees but the defense (32.6 PPG) didn’t exactly come to play in those contests.

    Minnesota has been in 10 playoff games since 2001 and the ‘under’ has gone 7-2-1. Two of those postseason contests were against New Orleans and the ‘over’ went 1-0-1, the most recent meeting taking place in the 2009-10 NFC Championship. The Vikings had a great shot to win that game but a careless Brett Favre interception late in the fourth quarter cost the team dearly as they dropped 31-28 overtime decision at the Saints, who went on to win Super Bowl XLIV against Indianapolis.

    Fearless Prediction:
    In the three of the last four Divisional Playoff rounds, the last game has watched the 'under' cash and we saw some tight games too. I believe this game will be decided by one score and even though the indoor environment might have you thinking shootout, I'm buying both defensive units and going against the betting public and money moves. I’m leaning to the game ‘under’ (47) and playing the New Orleans Team Total Under (20 ) and Minnesota Team Total Under (24 ) as well.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #903
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    NFL

    Saturday, December 13


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NFL Divisional Playoff betting preview and odds: Falcons at Eagles
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (+3, 41)

    Although the Philadelphia Eagles boasted the NFL's top mark throughout much of the season and tied a franchise record with 13 wins, they find themselves as the first team in league history to enter its opening playoff game as an underdog. The Eagles aim to silence the critics on Saturday when they host the sixth-seeded Atlanta Falcons in an NFC divisional round contest at Lincoln Financial Field.

    "What bothered me was we were 12-2 (at the time of Carson Wentz's injury) and treated like we were the (winless) Browns," Philadelphia Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson said. "It happens, but I think although we don't like it, it's a good motivator to have people not write good things." Philly's newspapers haven't been kind since potential NFL MVP candidate Wentz was lost for the season with an ACL injury, as the team hasn't given its fickle fans much to cheer with 16 points in its last nine quarters. Last season's NFL MVP Matt Ryan, who hails from Exton, Pa., recorded his fifth consecutive playoff game with at least a 100.0 passer rating in Atlanta's 26-13 win over the Los Angeles Rams last weekend. "We're not here just to get here. We want to make noise while we're here," Ryan told reporters.

    TV:
    4:35 p.m. ET, NBC.

    LINE HISTORY:
    The Falcons opened as 3-point road favorites and that number came down briefly to 2.5 before returning to the opening figure. The total hit betting boards at 44.5 and has been bet all of the way down to 41.

    WHAT SHARPS SAY:
    "The Eagles find themselves in a rare home dog role knowing that No. 1 NFC seeds are 22-3 SU in Divisional round games sic the 1990 season. On the flip side, the Falcons have won 10 of their last 12 games adjacent NFC East opponents but finds themselves favored the playoff road for the first time in franchise history. The bottom line is this game will likely come down to how Philadelphia backup QB Nick Foles fares against an Atlanta pass defense that surrendered more than 300 passing yards on only occasion this season." - Marc Lawrence.

    WEATHER REPORT:




    INJURY REPORT:


    Falcons - WR Mohamed Sanu (Probable, Knee), TE Levine Toilolo (Probable, Knee), WR Julio Jones (Probable, Ankle), QB Matt Ryan (Probable, Personal), LB LaRoy Reynolds (Questionable, Knee), RB Devonta Freeman (Questionable, Knee), LB Sean Weatherspoon (Questionable, Illness), LB Jordan Tripp (I-R, Concussion), G Andy Levitre (I-R, Tricep), S Quincy Mauger (I-R, Knee), DE Jack Crawford (I-R, Bicep).

    Eagles - T Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Probable, Knee), DE Brandon Graham (Probable, Ankle), CB Jalen Mills (Probable, Ankle), RB Jay Ajayi (Probable, Knee), CB Sidney Jones (Questionable, Hamstring), LB Dannell Ellerbe (Questionable, Hamstring), QB Carson Wentz (I-R, Knee), K Caleb Sturgis (I-R, Quadricep), S Chris Maragos (I-R, Knee), LB Joe Walker (I-R, Undisclosed), LB Jordan Hicks (I-R, Achilles), T Jason Peters (I-R, Knee), RB Darren Sproles (I-R, Knee), RB Donnel Pumphrey (I-R, Hamstring), CB Randall Goforth (I-R, Knee), WR Dom Williams (I-R, Achilles), DT Aziz Shittu (I-R, Knee).

    ABOUT THE FALCONS (11-6 SU, 8-9 ATS, 5-12 O/U):
    Julio Jones, who reeled in nine receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown last week against the Rams, traditionally has flustered Philadelphia in his career. The Pro Bowl wideout had 10 catches for 135 yards in the teams' last meeting in 2016 and has 428 receiving yards in four contests with the Eagles. The potent running back tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 1,493 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns this season, but the duo will test the mettle of Philadelphia's top-ranked rushing defense (79.2). Speaking of defense, Atlanta has stepped up its game by allowing just 16.3 points per contest over the last six.

    ABOUT THE EAGLES (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS, 8-8 O/U):
    Nick Foles answered a sterling four-touchdown performance versus the New York Giants in Week 15 by completing 23 of 49 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions over his last two appearances. "My message to Nick is, 'Listen, you have a great opportunity. Just go be Nick. Go play. Let's go executive the offense,'" coach Doug Pederson said. Zach Ertz is a key part of that offense after earning his first Pro Bowl selection by finishing third among all NFL tight ends with 74 receptions for 824 yards. Ertz and wideout Nelson Agholor each had eight touchdown receptions, one shy of team leader Alshon Jeffery.

    TRENDS:


    * Falcons are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Saturday games.
    * Eagles are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Divisional Playoffs games.
    * Under is 6-0 in Falcons last 6 games overall.
    * Under is 7-0-1 in Eagles last 8 playoff home games.
    * Under is 8-3-1 in the last 12 meetings.
    The public is siding with the road favorite Atlanta Falcons at a rate of 53 percent and the Over is getting 63 percent of the totals action.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL

    Saturday, December 13


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NFL Divisional Playoff betting preview and odds: Titans at Patriots
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13.5, 48)

    Amid the background of a reported rift between the owner, coach and star quarterback, the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night. The Patriots have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in two of the past three seasons and look to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since they accomplished it in 2003-04.

    New England, the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC, dealt with a rare off-the-field distraction when ESPN detailed a power struggle between coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and owner Robert Kraft -- a report the team disputed. "The reputation that Coach tries to get us to have is just ignore the noise -- ignore the noise from the outside and I feel like that's what myself and a lot of other players have been doing," Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski said. While Brady has 25 playoff wins under his belt, the upstart Titans will arrive in Foxborough fresh off their first postseason win since 2003 -- stunning the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21 after trailing by 18 points at halftime. Tennessee, which lost three straight before beating Jacksonville in Week 17 to clinch a playoff slot, has not won at New England since 2003, when the franchise was still located in Houston.

    TV:
    8:15 p.m. ET, CBS.

    LINE HISTORY:
    The Patriots opened as massive 13.5-point home favorites and that number has yet to move. The total hit betting boards at 47 and has been bet up slightly to 48.

    WHAT SHARPS SAY:
    "The Titans journey to Foxborough following last week’s stunning comeback win at Kansas City hoping they can reverse an ugly playoff trend that has found the last four teams to knock off the Chiefs in the postseason only to 0-4 SUATS the following games. The good news is Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota is 3-2 Su and 4-1 ATS adjacent .666 or greater foes in games i which the Titans sports a .500 or greater record. Meanwhile, New England is 18-0 SU and 12-6 ATS against AFC South opponents since 2010, but QB Tom Brady is only 2-3 ATS in his NFL career as double-digit chalk in the playoffs." - Marc Lawrence.

    WEATHER REPORT:




    INJURY REPORT:


    Titans - G Quinton Spain (Probable, Back), CB Logan Ryan (Probable, Ankle), RB DeMarco Murray (Out, Knee), LB Aaron Wallace (I-R, Back), CB LeShaun Sims (I-R, Hamstring), DL DaQuan Jones (I-R, Bicep), QB Alex Tanney (I-R, Foot), WR Tajae' Sharpe (I-R, Foot), LB Victor Ochi (I-R, Knee).

    Patriots - DL Alan Branch (Probable, Knee), WR Chris Hogan (Probable, Shoulder), RB James White (Probable, Ankle), RB Rex Burkhead (Probable, Knee), LB Marquis Flowers (Questionable, Illness), LB Kyle Van Noy (Questionable, Calf), DL Eric Lee (Questionable, Ankle), RB Mike Gillislee (Doubful, Knee), DT Vincent Valentine (Questionable, Knee), WR Malcolm Mitchell (Questionable, Knee), OL Marcus Cannon (I-R, Ankle), OL Tony Garcia (I-R, Illness), OL Andrew Jelks (I-R, Knee), DB Nate Ebner (I-R, Knee), TE Martellus Bennett (I-R, Shoulder), LB Dont'a Hightower (I-R, Pectoral), LB Shea McClellin (I-R, Concussion), LB Harvey Langi (I-R, Back), DL Keionta Davis (I-R, Neck), CB Cyrus Jones (I-R, Knee), WR Julian Edelman (I-R, Knee), DE Derek Rivers (I-R, Knee).

    ABOUT THE TITANS (10-7 SU, 9-7-1 ATS, 9-8 O/U):
    Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for more interceptions (15) than scoring passes (13) this season, but he guided Tennessee to three long touchdown drives in the second half, including a TD pass to himself at Kansas City. Mariota also rushed eight times for 46 yards but the Titans' best hopes are to feed backup running back Derrick Henry, who punished the Chiefs for 156 yards and a score on 23 carries. Tight end Delanie Walker had a team-high 74 catches while Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker added 53 and 54, respectively. Tennessee is 25th against the pass (239.3 yards) but tied for fifth in the league with 43 sacks.

    ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (13-3 SU, 11-5 ATS, 7-9 O/U):
    Brady put up his usual flashy numbers, leading the league with 4,577 yards and tossing 32 touchdowns versus eight interceptions, but he had just six scoring passes and five picks over the past five games. Dion Lewis has rushed for at least 92 yards in four of his past six games and scored five times in the past three, and should get some help with the expected returns of Rex Burkhead and James White from injury. Gronkowski and speedster Brandin Cooks each went over 1,000 yards and combined for 15 touchdowns for New England's top-ranking offense (394.2 yards). The Patriots limited 10 of their last 12 opponents to 17 points or fewer.

    TRENDS:


    * Titans are 7-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
    * Patriots are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 playoff games.
    * Under is 9-2-1 in Titans last 12 Saturday games.
    * Over is 7-0-1 in Patriots last 8 Divisional Playoffs games.
    * Titans are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the home favorite New England Patriots at a rate of 54 percent and the Over is getting 55 percent of the totals action.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #905
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    SATURDAY, JANUARY 13
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    ATL at PHI 04:35 PM
    ATL -3.0
    U 40.5


    TEN at NE 08:15 PM
    TEN +13.0
    U 48.0
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  6. #906
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    Eagles use goal-line stand, Elliott FGs to beat Falcons
    January 13, 2018


    PHILADELPHIA (AP) Nick Foles was steady, Jake Elliott had a big leg and the defense made one final stop.

    The underdog Philadelphia Eagles are heading to the NFC championship game following a 15-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday. They'll host the Saints-Vikings winner next Sunday.

    Despite going 13-3 to earn the No. 1 seed, the Eagles entered the game as 3-point underdogs against the sixth-seeded Falcons (11-7). They used it as motivation and now it's onto the next one as they continue pursuit of the franchise's first Super Bowl title.

    ''If we believe the outsiders, we will be all messed up,'' Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. ''We went out and proved we can be the real winning team.''

    Matt Ryan's final pass sailed through Julio Jones' arms in the corner of the end zone as Jalen Mills had tight coverage on fourth down from the 2 to secure Philadelphia's win. It was another disappointing finish for the Falcons, who blew a 25-point lead against the Patriots in last year's Super Bowl.

    ''The reason I play this game is to win a championship,'' Ryan said. ''That's why we put all of the hard work we put in. When you don't get that result, it's difficult.''

    Foles outplayed Ryan, bouncing back from a pair of subpar games with an efficient performance. He completed 77 percent of his passes (23 of 30) for 246 yards, no touchdowns and no turnovers.

    ''The biggest thing in our locker room is that we believe in one another and that showed,'' Foles said. ''We kept working, kept grinding, had faith in one another. In any sport there's going to be criticism. You're aware of it because you're human but we blocked it out.''

    Here's some things we learned following Philadelphia's first playoff win in nine years:

    OVERCOMING TURNOVERS:
    The Eagles committed the only two turnovers and won anyway. Jay Ajayi fumbled on the second play from scrimmage inside Falcons territory and a short punt bounced off an Eagles player setting up Atlanta's 18-yard touchdown drive.

    INCONSISTENT OFFENSE:
    These weren't the Falcons who lit up the scoreboard on their way to winning the NFC championship last year. Under first-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, the Falcons weren't quite as sharp throughout the season and their inconsistency showed up at the wrong time. They were shut out in the second half and held to just 118 yards in the final two quarters.

    ''I think that's something we have to look at and evaluate this offseason,'' Ryan said. ''There were too many times we were a little bit inconsistent.''

    JAY TRAIN: Ajayi shook off the fumble and ran well until he inexplicably went to the bench for a long stretch. Ajayi had 50 yards rushing on eight carries through Philadelphia's first drive of the second quarter, but didn't get the ball again until the second half. He finished with 54 yards on 15 carries and also dropped a third down pass. He did have 44 yards receiving on three catches.

    ''I feel like I played poorly,'' Ajayi said. ''The fumble, can't do that in a big game. I feel like I could have executed a lot better. A lot of the teammates picked up the slack. The defense played lights out.''

    CALL OF THE GAME: Eagles coach Doug Pederson ran an inside counter to wide receiver Nelson Agholor that went for 21 yards to the Falcons 3 on third-and-3 on Philadelphia's touchdown drive. It was the first time he called that play this season.

    ''It's a play we've had in our arsenal, but never got to it,'' Pederson said. ''This was just an opportunity to put it in Nelson's hands with Lane Johnson as a puller and just executed extremely well.''

    JAKE'S LEG: Elliott, who joined the Eagles after Caleb Sturgis was injured in Week 1, bounced back after missing his fourth extra point of the season by connecting on all three of his field goals. His 53-yarder at the end of the first half was his sixth in seven tries from beyond 50. That includes a game-winning 61-yarder against the Giants in Week 3.

    ''It was definitely tricky out there, just really gusty (wind),'' Elliott said. ''You don't know what it's really going to do out there so you just have to hit the best ball you can and take care of what you can control.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Patriots beat Titans 35-14 to head back to AFC title game
    January 13, 2018


    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) First, the Patriots tuned out a week full of off-field drama. Then, they silenced the Titans to earn yet another trip to the AFC championship game.

    Tom Brady passed for three touchdowns and 337 yards, and New England cruised past Tennessee 35-14 on Saturday night to advance to their seventh consecutive conference title game.

    New England (14-3) will host the winner of Sunday's divisional matchup between Jacksonville and Pittsburgh.

    It was Brady's 10th career postseason game with at least three TD tosses, moving him past Joe Montana for the most in NFL history. James White caught a touchdown pass and ran for another, and Danny Amendola had 11 catches for 112 yards.

    New England's victory came on the heels of a week filled with turmoil following reports of discord involving Brady, coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft.

    None of that showed on the field Saturday.

    ''I've been around long enough,'' Brady said. ''So, 18 years, there's so many nice things said about me. It just goes with the territory.''

    The Titans (10-8) took an early 7-0 lead, but New England scored 35 straight points to take control.

    Marcus Mariota completed 22 of 37 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, but was under duress for most of the second half. He was sacked eight times, a Patriots playoff record.

    Coach Mike Mularkey said after the game his quarterback strained a quadriceps in the first quarter.

    ''It had an impact,'' Mularkey said. ''We had to get out of some of our scheme with him.''

    New England also held Derrick Henry to just 28 yards rushing on 12 carries.

    The Titans came back from an 18-point deficit in the second half to beat the Chiefs 22-21 in the wild-card round last week - the largest comeback on the road in the Super Bowl era. But the Patriots didn't give them a chance for an encore.

    Leading 14-7, the Patriots stretched their lead to 14 just before halftime thanks to a trio of careless penalties on the Titans.

    Tennessee initially forced a three-and-out, but gave up a first down via a fourth-and-5 neutral zone infraction on Brynden Trawick before New England's punt attempt.

    Armed with a new set of downs, Brady went to work moving the Patriots down the field with a steady diet of short passes. The Titans helped along the way with illegal contact and unnecessary roughness penalties. It eventually culminated in a 4-yard TD pass from Brady to Chris Hogan in the back of the end zone that made it 21-7.

    Brady threw a short shovel pass to White, who ran it in from the 5-yard line to make it 7-7 early in the second quarter.

    The Patriots appeared to have a touchdown three plays earlier, when Dion Lewis caught a pass from Brady and was tackled by Wesley Woodyard at the 19. Lewis landed on top of the defender, then got up and continued to the end zone.

    The officials initially ruled that he had never been down and called it a touchdown. But replays showed Lewis' butt hit the ground at the 19.

    Corey Davis made a one-handed catch on a 15-yard pass from Mariota in the corner of the end zone to give the Titans a 7-0 lead. Mariota had a pair of 11-yard runs to help set up the score.

    Davis added an 11-yard TD reception with 1:55 left in the game - and the Titans' season.

    INJURIES

    Titans: Right tackle Jack Conklin walked off on his own power after injuring a knee in the first quarter. He did not return. ... Tight end Jonnu Smith was carted off in the third quarter with a right leg injury.

    Patriots: Right tackle LaAdrian Waddle left with a knee injury early in the third quarter. ... Cornerback Jonathan Jones was helped off the field late in the fourth quarter.

    UNFORCED ERRORS


    The Titans had 85 penalties in the regular season - the second-fewest in the NFL.

    They were flagged 10 times for 62 yards on Saturday, just the second time they had 10 or more this season.

    MOVING ON UP

    Gronkowski finished with six catches for 81 yards and touchdown. It was his 10th career postseason TD. He's tied with five others for third all-time. But it's the most for a tight end.

    Gronk also moved into second all-time for a tight end with 835 postseason receiving yards. He passed Keith Jackson, and only Dallas Clark is ahead of him.

    UP NEXT

    The Patriots will play the winner of Sunday's matchup between the Jaguars and Steelers in the AFC championship game.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Total Talk - DP Sunday
    January 12, 2018


    The two Divisional Playoff round matchups on Sunday will be rematches from this year’s regular season as Pittsburgh and New Orleans will be looking to avenge losses to Jacksonville and Minnesota respectively.

    If you’re handicapping leans to experience, this will be the third trip in the last four seasons to the second round of the NFL Playoffs for the Steelers. Meanwhile, the Saints (2013), Vikings (2009) and Jaguars (2007) could be a tad nervous come Sunday.

    Similar to my first three playoff pieces, I’m going to break down every game and offer up my quick handicap and prediction for all the matchups. For those keeping track, my leans went 3-3 in the Wild Card round. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

    Sunday, Jan. 14

    Jacksonville at Pittsburgh (CBS, 1:05 p.m. ET)


    This total was sent out at 41 and the number has held steady all week with just a couple shops showing 41 as of Friday afternoon. The weather in Western Pennsylvania was in the high fifties on Friday but this game is expecting to be played around the thirties. No precipitation or serious wind is expected.

    In Week 5, Jacksonville posted an eye-opening 30-9 win over Pittsburgh as a 7 -point road underdog and the ‘under’ (41 ) was clearly the right side. The Jaguars led 7-6 at the break and actually trailed 9-7 in the third quarter before their defense took over. The unit blew the game open with a pair of interceptions for touchdowns before running back Leonard Fournette padded the margin and his stats with a 90-yard run late in the fourth quarter.

    Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tossed a career-high five interceptions in the loss and the Steelers couldn’t do anything on the ground, rushing for 70 yards on 20 attempts. Pittsburgh will have wide receiver Antonio Brown (calf) back in the lineup this Sunday and he did have 10 receptions for 157 yards in the first meeting against the Jaguars.

    Since that result, the Steelers have scored 20-plus points in 11 of their last 12 games and have posted 30 or more points four times during that span. Having that success on Sunday certainly won’t be easy against Jacksonville, who is ranked second defensively in scoring at 15.9 points per game, total yards (284.8) and sacks (57).

    That defensive production was key in its Wild Card round last Sunday as Jacksonville dropped Buffalo 10-3 at home and the ‘under’ (40) easily connected. The Jaguars have seen the ‘under’ cash in two straight games and is 9-8 on the season, largely due to the defense but lately the Jacksonville offense has been a mess.

    QB Blake Bortles hasn’t looked great the past three weeks and his confidence appears to be shaken too. Earlier this week he said to reporters, "Hopefully, we can throw less." It’s safe to say the entire team feels that way knowing the Jaguars led the league in rushing (142.2 YPG) and they’ll be facing a Steelers defense without linebacker Ryan Shazier. Since he went down with the spine injury, Pittsburgh has allowed 100-plus rushing yards in three of four games.

    The Steelers watched the ‘under’ go 10-5-1 this season but the ‘over’ was 5-3 at home. The one theme with Pittsburgh over the past few seasons that I’ve noticed is how it performs in the early Sunday games (1:00 p.m. ET). Tossing out the Week 17 meaningless game versus Cleveland, the Steelers only averaged 19.8 PPG in six other games played in this slot and that includes the aforementioned meeting versus Jacksonville. Not surprisingly, the ‘under’ cashed in all those games.

    Before you run to the betting counter and bang the low side, it should be noted that the Steelers have watched the ‘over’ go 8-1 in home playoff games with Big Ben at QB and the team has averaged 26.2 PPG in those games.

    Fearless Prediction: When you have totals this low, bettors normally have to put in a full 60-minute session and one or two big plays can turn the result upside down. I’m going to keep it simple and go with one ticket – Jacksonville Team Total Under (17). The Jaguars OFFENSE has scored 16, 17, 16 and 3 points in four games against playoff teams this season and two of those touchdowns came on long runs by Fournette. Barring more big plays from the Jaguars, I don’t see them finding the end zone more than once on Sunday.

    New Orleans at Minnesota (FOX, 4:40 p.m. ET)

    The last game on the board is always the most dangerous and the bookmakers have put themselves into a tough position with the total. Scott Cooley of BookMaker.eu admitted to VegasInsider.com that his shop made a slight mistake with their opener.

    He explained, “The total we'll be sweating the most is that Saints-Vikings. We opened too low, 44.5, and we just recently moved to 47. The smart guys know this is a great Vikings defense, but it is up against Drew Brees. And they also understand that this isn't your average Minnesota offense. It's creative and it can score points in bunches.”

    It is a little surprising to see the total go up knowing the Vikings are the league’s best defensive team in both scoring (15.8 PPG) and yards (275.9 YPG).

    Minnesota has only seen two totals listed above 47 all season and the totals went 1-1 in those games. The Vikings earned a 14-9 road win at Atlanta in Week 13 as the ‘under’ (48 ) connected easily and the other contest took place in Week 1 against New Orleans.

    The Vikings posted a 29-19 win over the Saints in the Monday Night opener and the ‘over’ (47 ) barely got there with a late score by New Orleans but the high side was definitely the right play. The pair combined for over 800 total offensive yards and 11 scores. It was a clean game as neither team turned the ball over but the difference was three short field goals by New Orleans (24, 21, 20) and leaving those points off the board cost the Saints.

    A lot has changed since that meeting, most notably New Orleans ability to run the football. The Vikings only allowed 60 rushing yards in the opener but the Saints finished the season ranked sixth (124.2 YPG) in rushing offense.

    New Orleans couldn’t get anything going on the ground (41 yards) last Sunday in its Wild Card win over Carolina and you wonder if it can muster up any yards against Minnesota’s run defense (83.6 YPG), which is ranked second in the league. Fortunately for New Orleans, QB Drew Brees had a great game (376 yards, 2 TDs) last week and the defense did enough to withstand a rally from the Panthers.

    Brees and the Saints offense (25.9 PPG) haven’t been as potent on the road and that’s translated into mixed total results (4-4). Helping a few of those ‘under’ tickets was the New Orleans defense. The offense gets all the headlines in ‘The Big Easy’ but the defense only allowed 20.7 PPG this season, compared to 28.4 PPG in 2016 and that’s a ridiculous improvement. On the road, the unit has been even better when it comes to scoring defense (18.2 PPG).

    I did find one seasonal trend on New Orleans that could help you handicapping the side on this matchup. The Saints went 4-0 as visitors when holding teams under 20 points but 0-4 when allowing 20 or more.

    Can the Vikings put up at least 20 on Sunday?

    Based on what we’ve seen this season, the answer would be ‘Yes’ but let’s be clear that Minnesota’s offense isn’t a juggernaut (23.9 PPG, No. 10). Backup QB Case Keenum has played great since taking over for the injured Sam Bradford and a lot of pundits are waiting for him to collapse but he closed the season with an 11-1 record and captured division title.

    Keenum reminds me of former San Francisco 49ers QB Jeff Garcia, another solid player that got the job done consistently yet never really amazed you. Keenum is very accurate (67.6%) and has the ability to make plays with his legs, something Bradford didn’t offer. It also helps to have a pair of great receivers (Thielen, Diggs) and a big tight end (Rudolph) as well.

    In seven home games, Keenum led the Vikings to 20-plus points in six of seven games but the ‘under’ went 5-2. That record was obviously helped with dominating defensive numbers (11.5 PPG) in those games.

    While Keenum has never started a playoff game, Brees has played in 12 and New Orleans has watched the ‘over’ go 9-3 in those games with him under center. In true road games, the Saints are 1-4 with Brees but the defense (32.6 PPG) didn’t exactly come to play in those contests.

    Minnesota has been in 10 playoff games since 2001 and the ‘under’ has gone 7-2-1. Two of those postseason contests were against New Orleans and the ‘over’ went 1-0-1, the most recent meeting taking place in the 2009-10 NFC Championship. The Vikings had a great shot to win that game but a careless Brett Favre interception late in the fourth quarter cost the team dearly as they dropped 31-28 overtime decision at the Saints, who went on to win Super Bowl XLIV against Indianapolis.

    Fearless Prediction: In the three of the last four Divisional Playoff rounds, the last game has watched the 'under' cash and we saw some tight games too. I believe this game will be decided by one score and even though the indoor environment might have you thinking shootout, I'm buying both defensive units and going against the betting public and money moves. I’m leaning to the game ‘under’ (47) and playing the New Orleans Team Total Under (20 ) and Minnesota Team Total Under (24 ) as well.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL notebook: Texans name Gaine GM, extend O'Brien
    January 13, 2018


    The Houston Texans hired Brian Gaine as their new general manager and extended the contract of head coach Bill O'Brien, the team announced Saturday.

    Gaine signed a five-year deal and O'Brien was extended for four years, with both contracts running through 2022. O'Brien had one year remaining on the five-year contract he signed when he took over as Texans coach before the 2014 season.

    Gaine returns to the Texans after one year as the Buffalo Bills' vice president of player personnel. He previously served as Houston's director of pro personnel and director of player personnel under general manager Rick Smith before leaving for Buffalo.

    Smith has taken an extended leave of absence to be with his wife, Tiffany, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in September and has been receiving treatment in Arizona. Smith, who will retain the title of executive vice president, has worked for the Texans since 2006.

    --The Chicago Bears announced Kevin M. Gilbride as their tight ends coach. Gilbride, 38, is the son of former longtime NFL offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.

    The younger Gilbride, 38, spent the last eight seasons with his father on the New York Giants, with the last four as the team's tight ends coach. He has also been a position coach or offensive assistant with Syracuse, Georgetown and Temple.

    Gilbride is the newest addition to the offensive ranks under new coach Matt Nagy. He joins offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, running backs coach Charles London and receivers coach Mike Furrey.

    Under Gilbride's watch, Evan Engram led all NFL rookie tight ends in receptions (64) and receiving yards (722) and tied for first in receiving touchdowns (six). Engram also led the Giants in receptions and touchdown catches while finishing second on the team in receiving yards.

    --The Minnesota Vikings activated quarterback Sam Bradford off injured reserve, the team announced.

    Bradford was placed on injured reserve after undergoing knee surgery on Nov. 7. The surgery was not related to the two procedures he had to repair a torn ACL in 2013 and 2014.

    It's not immediately known if Bradford will sit ahead of Teddy Bridgewater on the depth chart and serve as the backup quarterback behind Case Keenum in Sunday's NFC divisional round playoff game versus the visiting New Orleans Saints.

    Bridgewater has served as the backup since Week 10 for the Vikings, who have not had three quarterbacks listed as active since Mike Zimmer became their coach. Bridgewater was activated off injured reserve on the same day that Bradford was placed on IR.

    --The Seattle Seahawks have reportedly found their replacement for former offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

    Brian Schottenheimer, who spent the past two seasons as quarterbacks coach of the Indianapolis Colts, has been offered the offensive coordinator's job with Seattle, multiple media outlets reported.

    ESPN, citing a league source, reported that Schottenheimer was expected to be hired by Seattle, while the NFL Network reported that the Seahawks offered him the job "before other teams got involved."

    The son of former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer, the younger Schottenheimer was the offensive coordinator with the New York Jets from 2006-11 and held the same position with the St. Louis Rams from 2012-14.

    --Tom Cable is on the verge of returning to the Bay Area.

    Cable is expected to become the offensive line coach for the Oakland Raiders, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

    The 53-year-old Cable worked as the Raiders offensive line coach in 2007 before becoming the team's interim head coach four games into the 2008 season after Lane Kiffin was fired. Cable was named head coach the following season and posted a 17-27 mark over parts of three seasons at the helm.

    Cable has spent the last seven seasons working as the assistant head coach/offensive line coach for the Seattle Seahawks before being dismissed on Wednesday.

    ---The three men most responsible for turning the New England Patriots into a perennial power will wait until after the season to settle any differences, according to a report.

    Patriots owner Robert Kraft will sit down with head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady to "clear the air" of any lingering tensions, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported.

    Reigning Super Bowl champion New England was set to host the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night in an AFC divisional round playoff game.

    The report comes a week after the Patriots denied there was friction among the trio, which reportedly stemmed from a dispute over the trade of backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco earlier this season.

    --Patriots running backs Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee are expected to sit out Saturday's AFC divisional round playoff game against the visiting Tennessee Titans, multiple outlets reported.

    Burkhead and Gillislee are both listed as questionable with knee injuries.

    Fellow running back James White, however, is expected to play, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported. Last year's Super Bowl hero has missed the past two games with an ankle injury and is officially listed as questionable to play versus Tennessee.

    White, 25, reeled in 56 receptions for 429 yards and three touchdowns to go along with his 171 rushing yards this season.

    --The NFL is considering a knee injury that may have contributed to quarterback Cam Newton's fall to the ground as the league investigates whether the Carolina Panthers properly followed concussion protocol last weekend, ESPN reported.

    Newton was also poked in the eye during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 31-26 loss to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC wild-card game. The NFL reportedly learned of his knee injury while interviewing Panthers officials over the phone this week.

    The 2015 NFL MVP slowly got to his feet after a hard hit to the head from Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata. Newton made his way toward the sideline but then dropped to a knee before getting off the field.

    Newton was taken to the team's blue medical tent but not the locker room, which is a violation of the new NFL rules.

    --Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Dannell Ellerbe was active for Saturday's playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons.

    However, rookie cornerback Sidney Jones, the other Philadelphia player who was listed as questionable, was among the team's inactives.

    Ellerbe, who signed with the Eagles in November, was expected to play after he was a full participant in Thursday's practice. He made eight tackles while starting the final two games.

    Jones, a 2017 second-round pick, was activated in Week 17 after recovering from a torn Achilles tendon sustained in a workout before the draft. He played in the final regular-season game against the Dallas Cowboys and recorded two tackles.

    --San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was arrested and charged with second-degree marijuana possession on Friday, according to records from the Tuscaloosa County (Ala.) Sheriff's Office.

    Bond was set at $2,500 for Foster, who was a first-team All-American for the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2016 and also won the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in college.

    California legalized recreational marijuana on Jan. 1. Under Alabama state criminal law, second-degree possession is a Class A misdemeanor.

    Foster recorded a team second-best 72 tackles in 10 games during his rookie season after being selected with the 31st overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL


    Sunday, December 14


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NFL Divisional Playoff betting preview and odds: Jaguars at Steelers
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7, 41)


    Ben Roethlisberger gets a chance to atone for one of the worst games of his career when he guides the Pittsburgh Steelers into Sunday's AFC divisonal round matchup against the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars. Roethlisberger has guided No. 2 seed Pittsburgh to 10 wins in 11 games since a wretched performance in a 30-9 home loss to Jacksonville in Week 5.


    Roethlisberger questioned whether he still had "it" after throwing a career-worst five interceptions -- two of which were returned for touchdowns -- against Jacksonville in October. "We've evolved since then. They have evolved a lot since then," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "I am sure that they are as different as we are since the last time we've seen them." Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh rebounded to win eight in a row following the loss to the third-seeded Jaguars, who set up the rematch with a 10-3 victory over Buffalo in the wild-card round. While Jalen Ramsey picked off Roethlisberger in the first meeting and clinched last week's win with an interception, fellow cornerback A.J. Bouye had a ready response -- "be careful what you ask for" -- upon hearing that the quarterback wants another crack at the Jaguars.

    TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS.

    LINE HISTORY: The Steelers opened as 8-point home chalk and money coming in on the Jaguars have brought that number down to a converted touchdown at most books. The total hit the betting boards at 41 and was briefly bet down to 40.5 before returning to the opening number.

    WHAT BOOKS SAY: "This is the least exciting game from an action standpoint. We've got a few sharps on each side of the spread, and the squares are almost split as well, although there is slightly more public money on Pittsburgh. Currently, the money handle favors the Steelers 60-40." - Scott Cooley, odds consultant for offshore sportsbook Bookmaker.eu.

    WEATHER REPORT:


    INJURY REPORT:


    Jaguars - RB T.J. Yeldon (Questionable, Illness), LB Paul Posluszny (Questionable, Hip), OL Chris Reed (Questionable, Knee), WR Jaelen Strong (I-R, Knee), WR Arrelious Benn (I-R, Knee), LS Matt Overton (I-R, Shoulder).


    Steelers - Antonio Brown (Probable, Calf), CB Coty Sensabaugh (Questionable, Shoulder), RB James Conner (I-R, Knee), LB Ryan Shazier (I-R, Spine)

    ABOUT THE JAGUARS (11-6 SU, 9-8 ATS, 8-9 O/U): The biggest question mark on offense for Jacksonville is the erratic play of fourth-year quarterback Blake Bortles, who was intercepted five times in the final two regular-season games and threw for only 87 yards in last weekend's win over Buffalo. Bortles did rush for 88 yards last week but the Jaguars likely will try to play keep-away by feeding rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who rumbled for a season-high 181 yards and a 90-yard touchdown in the first meeting against Pittsburgh. Calais Campbell leads a pass rush that amassed 55 sacks -- second in the league to Pittsburgh -- while the Jaguars permitted an NFL-low 169.9 yards per game and ranked No. 2 overall with an average of 16.8 points surrendered. Ramsey and Bouye combined for 10 of the team's 21 interceptions, also No. 2 in the league.

    ABOUT THE STEELERS (13-3 SU, 7-9 ATS, 6-10 O/U): Roethlisberger finished the season with multiple touchdown passes in his last seven games, connecting on 18 TDs versus five interceptions in that span. Antonio Brown, sidelined since injuring a calf in Week 15 against the Patriots, practice fully Wednesday -- the same day he was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Year after hauling in 101 passes for a league-high 1,533 yards, including 10 for 157 versus the Jaguars. Rookie wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster came on strong over the second half of the season while Le'Veon Bell provides a lethal dual threat out of the backfield, finishing third in the league in rushing (1,291) yards to go with a career-best 85 catches. The Steelers led the league with 56 sacks, but defensive end Stephon Tuitt and cornerback Artie Burns each were hurt in Wednesday's practice.

    TRENDS:


    * Steelers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games.


    * Under is 6-0 in Jaguars last 6 games following a ATS loss.


    * Under is 4-1 in Steelers last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.


    * Road team is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.


    * Underdog is 9-1 ATS in their last 10 meetings.

    CONSENSUS: The public is siding with the home favorite Pittsburgh Steelers at a rate of 52 percent and the Under is getting 58 percent of the totals action.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL


    Sunday, December 14


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    NFL Divisional Playoff betting preview and odds: Saints at Vikings
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-5, 46.5)


    The Minnesota Vikings defeated the visiting New Orleans Saints in their season opener and have won five straight at U.S. Bank Stadium heading into the teams' NFC divisional round contest on Sunday. The Vikings are banking their home success pays dividends as they continue their pursuit of becoming the first team to host a Super Bowl when they face off against Drew Brees and the Saints.


    Case Keenum watched as Sam Bradford earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns in the 29-19 win over the Saints on Sept. 11 before the journeyman quarterback was ushered into action. Keenum became a dark-horse NFL MVP candidate after recording career highs in completions (325), attempts (481), yards (3,547), touchdowns (22) and passer rating (98.3) while posting an 11-3 mark as a starter. "I always root for guys like that, kind of the undersized guy coming out that nobody wants to give any credit and just always plays with a chip on his shoulder," said Brees, who is a sentimental darling in his own right as he approaches his 39th birthday. Brees penned one of his best performance of the season last weekend by throwing for 376 yards and two touchdowns as the Saints defeated the Carolina Panthers for the third time this season with a 31-26 win in the wild-card game.

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

    LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened the Vikings as 3.5-point faves and that wasn't enough for bettors as money came in on the home team pushing that line as high as 5, where it currently sits. The total hit the board at 44.5 and has been bet up two full points to 46.5.

    WHAT BOOKS SAY: "No surprise that the public is siding with the Saints to the tune of 70 percent. Over the last 48 hours the sharps have jumped all over Minnesota. The over in this game is our biggest total liability thus far. Sharps and squares love the over, and it’s the most wagered option by the wiseguys in the Divisional Playoffs thus far." - Scott Cooley, odds consultant for offshore sportsbook Bookmaker.eu.

    WEATHER REPORT: Dome

    INJURY REPORT:


    Saints - DT Tony McDaniel (Questionable, Leg), OT Andrus Peat (Out Indefinitely, Shin), FB John Kuhn (Questionable, Bicep), TE Garrett Griffin (I-R, Foot), DE Hau'oli Kikaha (I-R, Ankle), DT John Hughes (I-R, Biceps), S Kenny Vaccaro (I-R, Wrist), LB A.J. Klein (I-R, Groin), NT David Parry (I-R, Ankle), DL Mitchell Loewen (I-R, Ankle), TE Coby Fleener (I-R, Concussion).


    Vikings - C Pat Elflein (Probable, Shoulder), TE Kyle Rudolph (Probable, Ankle), DB Tramaine Brock (Questionable, Foot), DT Shamar Stephen (Questionable, Ankle), FB C.J. Ham (Questionable, Neck), QB Sam Bradford (Doubtful, Knee), LS Kevin McDermott (I-R, Shoulder), C Nick Easton (I-R, Ankle), TE Blake Bell (I-R, Shoulder).

    ABOUT THE SAINTS (12-5 SU, 9-8 ATS, 10-7 O/U): Like Minnesota, New Orleans also changed quite a bit after the season opener as former Vikings great Adrian Peterson was jettisoned to Arizona in favor of the two-pronged attack of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. The potent pair became the first running back duo in league history to gain more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage and helped New Orleans lead the NFL with 4.7 yards per carry and 23 rushing touchdowns. Kamara finished second among running backs in catches with 81 during the regular season, but had just one against the Panthers last weekend. Michael Thomas more than picked up the slack, however, reeling in eight of nine targets for 131 yards in his playoff debut.

    ABOUT THE VIKINGS (13-3 SU, 11-5 ATS, 7-9 O/U): Swapping quarterbacks isn't Minnesota's only notable change from the season opener as Latavius Murray's workload was nondescript before impressive rookie Dalvin Cook saw his season end due to an ACL injury. Murray recorded eight touchdowns in his last 10 games of the season while fellow running back Jerick McKinnon reeled in 43 of his 51 receptions over the last 12. Wideout Stefon Diggs found the end zone on two occasions in the first meeting with the Saints and scored a touchdown in each of the last three games of the season.

    TRENDS:


    * Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.


    * Vikings are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.


    * Over is 13-3 in Saints last 16 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.


    * Over is 5-0-1 in the last 6 meetings in Minnesota.


    * Favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.

    CONSENSUS: The public is siding with the road dog Saints at a rate of 62 percent and the Over is getting 57 percent of the totals action.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  12. #912
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    Steelers' WR Antonio Brown (calf/illness) is officially active today vs Jaguars


    ********************


    NFL Playoff Betting Stats (through 6 games):

    Favorites: 1-5 ATS
    Home Teams: 2-4 ATS
    Home Favorites: 1-4 ATS
    Home Underdogs: 1-0 ATS

    Over/Under: 2-4
    Over/Under Outdoors: 1-4
    Over/Under Indoors: 1-0
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  13. #913
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    SUNDAY, JANUARY 14
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS


    JAC at PIT 01:05 PM
    PIT -7.0
    U 41.0


    NO at MIN 04:40 PM
    MIN -5.5
    O 47.0
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  14. #914
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    Vikings put past behind them in stunning victory
    January 14, 2018


    MINNEAPOLIS -- Kyle Rudolph had showered and dressed after the Minnesota Vikings' improbable walkoff victory on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, and was ready to put the first playoff victory of his career into perspective.

    Rudolph, the longest-tenured member of Minnesota's offense, had watched quarterback Case Keenum throw the ball up and receiver Stefon Diggs make a leaping catch before spinning and staying inbounds on his way to a game-winning, 61-yard touchdown in the Vikings' 29-24 win.

    The most unlikely of endings ignited one of the unluckiest of franchises.

    Forget the four Super Bowl losses. Those are ancient past. No, the fan base had been through plenty in recent years to consider themselves cursed.

    It was Gary Anderson's miss in the NFC Championship Game that kept the 15-1 Vikings from reaching the Super Bowl after the 1998 season. There was the 41-donut two years later in the NFC Championship loss to the New York Giants.

    Another expected Super Bowl run in 2009 was derailed at the hands of Sunday's opponents, the New Orleans Saints, when Brett Favre was intercepted and Minnesota lost in overtime. Just two years ago, Blair Walsh's chip-shot, 27-yard field goal sailed left with 26 seconds left in a 10-9 loss to Seattle.

    "It's about time," Rudolph said. "Just what this organization has been through, what we as a group have been through if you think back to the last time we were in the playoffs, and then just rewind over the last two years of all the injuries and all the adversity we faced."

    Rudolph continued, listing off the bad breaks for the Vikings like losing quarterback Sam Bradford after he was NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 1 against New Orleans and impressive rookie running back Dalvin Cook suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 4 as Minnesota fell to 2-2.

    "For a lot of people, they could have been just, 'OK, here it goes again. It's not meant to be,'" Rudolph said. "But that's not this group. That's not this group of men. It's not the leadership that we have. All we know is the fight. They say all the time, 'fight for 60 minutes.' As long as we do that, you look up and you'll be happy. I never actually thought after 60 full minutes it would end the way it did today."

    With one catch and run, the Vikings hope to have exorcised any playoff demons.

    There was seven seconds on the clock when Keenum let the ball go. Diggs went high to make the catch and safety Marcus Williams went low and missed a hit on Diggs, perhaps trying to avoid a penalty. Diggs landed, turned and had no one between him and the purple of the end zone. He did a high-wire balancing act along the sideline to stay in bounds and celebrated in the end zone with no time left on the clock.

    "I think that crystal ball and that wood spirit is working," Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer said. "If there was a curse, then we probably would have lost today."

    There is no curse, but these Vikings are living a charmed life.

    Previously a journeyman, Keenum took over for Bradford and had an MVP-quality season. There's nothing lucky about one of the league's best defenses, even though it received its own fortunate turn on Sunday.

    Defensive end Everson Griffen had his back to quarterback Drew Brees and simply threw up his hand. He tipped a Brees pass and linebacker Anthony Barr was there to make the interception.

    "I didn't believe it," a stunned Griffen later said about Diggs' touchdown. "I'm sitting here and I'm in complete shock. It's unbelievable. I'm going to say it over again, God is good. He showed me something. It's amazing, about time. It don't matter how you win. Like Vin Diesel said, you win by an inch or mile, winning is winning and we won the game."

    "It's about time" was echoed by several players after the game.

    Minnesota Pro-Bowl receiver Adam Thielen had lived through all of the recent playoff letdowns as a boy growing up in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

    "2009, 1998, just being a Vikings fan since Day 1, I've been through a lot, obviously, as a fan," he said. "But it's different when you're a part of the team. You don't really think about those things. You think about these guys in the locker room; how hard we've fought, how much we've been through, how close this group is and that's why we want to win."

    Even as Diggs celebrated, other players and coaches were hesitant. The crowd was frenzied. But everyone looked toward the field to see if there was a penalty on the play.

    Not this time, not for these Vikings.

    "I figured the play was dead or something's going to happen because that don't happen to us," Barr said. "We don't get stuff like that. But we did today, so I'll take it."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Jaguars ride offense, swagger to AFC title game
    January 14, 2018


    PITTSBURGH (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't faced the New England Patriots in a game that matters in more than two years. That's OK. They know a pretty good place to go to get a heads up on their opponent in the AFC title game.

    ''We need the notes the Steelers have on the Patriots because they were doing a lot of advanced scouting,'' safety Barry Church said Sunday after the Jaguars stunned Pittsburgh 45-42 to earn a trip to Foxborough next weekend to face the defending Super Bowl champions. ''We need all the notes they got on the Patriots. Other than that, it's time to roll to New England baby.''

    With their brute force rookie running back, their enigmatic quarterback and more than a little bit of swagger in tow.

    ''You can do all the talking you want on Twitter, to the media, all of that,'' Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. ''But when you get on the field you're going to have to produce, you're going to have to show us what you're about. We're confident because we know the work we put in. We're going to go out there confident.''

    It showed.

    Ticked off by several Steelers openly talking about a rematch with the Patriots with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line, the Jaguars took it out on Pittsburgh one touchdown at a time. They earned the franchise's third trip to the conference championship game in the process.

    Now it's on to New England, a place they've never won and where the Patriots hung 51 on them in 2015. But that was before coach Doug Marrone put together the NFL's best defense. Before Leonard Fournette arrived. Before Blake Bortles embraced his role as the enigmatic touchstone for a team that suddenly looks like a threat on both sides of the ball.

    Third-seeded Jacksonville (12-6) never trailed and was only rarely threatened on an afternoon it matched the most points the Steelers have given up in their storied playoff history. Fournette churned for 109 yards and three scores . Bortles bounced back from an ugly performance against Buffalo by throwing for 214 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown to at least temporarily hit mute on his critics.

    ''I have no animosity against anyone who said anything,'' Bortles said. ''I'm happy to be able to come here and do this with this team. There are a lot of guys on the couch watching this.''

    That group now will include the Steelers. Pittsburgh (13-4) lost at home in the divisional round for the second time in 11 tries, unable to overcome a sluggish start that allowed the Jaguars to take a 21-point lead.

    The Steelers only had the ball with a chance to tie once over the final three quarters, the lone shot evaporating when Ben Roethlisberger threw incomplete on fourth-and-1 at the Jacksonville 39 early in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars responded with a drive that culminated in Fournette's third touchdown, and that was it.

    Roethlisberger, who finished with 469 yards passing and a franchise-record five touchdowns , said he will be back in 2018, though the sting of a stunning upset will linger into an offseason longer than planned.

    ''If you don't win the Super Bowl, you've underachieved, right?'' Roethlisberger said. ''Because that is always our goal. It wasn't our day. It wasn't our year.''

    JUGGERNAUT JAGUARS: Though Jacksonville's offense has endured dry spells this season, the Jaguars did finish the regular season fifth in scoring. While the defense chipped in a touchdown on a 48-yard fumble return by linebacker Telvin Smith, Bortles kept the Jaguars moving. Jacksonville converted 8 of 14 third downs and its lone fourth-down conversion came on Fournette's 1-yard leap in the first quarter.

    ''All week everybody was talking about our offense wasn't going to do good, they were going to shut down our offense,'' Jacksonville linebacker Myles Jack said. ''As you saw, Blake Bortles, he was hitting the open man. He had a plethora of big throws. Fournette was running the ball the hardest I've seen them. The offense did a hell of a job.''

    INSPIRING STEELER: Pittsburgh linebacker Ryan Shazier tried to rally the Steelers with a halftime visit to their locker room.

    Shazier, who underwent surgery to stabilize his spine last month, spoke with his teammates as they were fighting back from a 28-14 deficit. Still in a wheelchair during his recovery, Shazier was also around following the 45-42 loss, a stunning setback that concluded a challenging season for the AFC North champions.

    The 25-year-old Shazier has made significant progress, but his playing future remains uncertain because of the injury he suffered making a routine tackle on Dec. 4 against Cincinnati.

    Pittsburgh's crowd roared when Shazier was shown on the Heinz Field scoreboard in the third quarter.

    UNDERACHIEVERS:
    Steelers All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown returned from a left calf injury to catch seven passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns . Yet, the only player in NFL history with five consecutive 100-catch seasons will again watch the Super Bowl at home.

    ''We cannot seem to get the job done,'' Brown said. ''That's what's so sad about the journey. You come so close.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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