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

  1. #871
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    Notebook: QB Keenum could join Shurmur if hired as coach
    January 7, 2018


    Pat Shurmur could bring Minnesota Vikings free-agent-to-be Case Keenum along for the ride should he join a team that needs a quarterback, ESPN reported on Sunday.

    Shurmur, who is the Vikings offensive coordinator, has interviewed with the Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions in the last few days. The Cardinals saw starter Carson Palmer retire on Tuesday while the Giants could be ready to move on from fellow quarterback Eli Manning.

    The 52-year-old Shurmur and Keenum "both think very highly of each other," a source told ESPN.

    Shurmur helped lead the Vikings to the NFL North title with a 13-3 record, doing so by getting an unprecedented performance from journeyman quarterback Keenum, who stepped in for injured Sam Bradford.

    Keenum, an undrafted free agent in 2012, has completed 67.6 percent of his passes for a career high in passing yards (3,547) and touchdowns (22) while throwing just seven interceptions.

    --The Green Bay Packers are promoting Brian Gutekunst to the general manager position, multiple outlets reported.

    NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the deal is for five years for Gutekunst, who has been with the Packers for 19 years and was promoted to director of player personnel on March 21, 2016.

    Gutekunst was scheduled to interview for the Houston Texans' general manager position on Sunday. The 44-year-old will take over the role from Ted Thompson, who will remain as senior advisor to football operations with the Packers.

    Gutekunst reportedly was one of three internal candidates to interview for the job. The other two were vice president of football administration Russ Ball and director of football operations Eliot Wolf.

    --The Houston Texans were denied in their requests to interview New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio and director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort as well as Philadelphia Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas for their general manager's job, ESPN reported.

    The trio still could be on the radar as the NFL's rules allow for hiring executives from other teams after the season ends.

    According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the executives still might be able to interview for the Texans job thanks to a change in the hiring rules the league made this offseason. Previously teams could prevent others from hiring executives who had "final say on the 53-man roster," although that is "no longer a requirement" in 2018, per Schefter.

    --NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended the league's declining TV ratings, pointing out that 20 of the 30 highest-rated shows in 2017 were NFL games.

    Nielsen television ratings data backs up Goodell's argument. NBC's Sunday Night Football and ESPN's Monday Night Football were the most-watched shows every week in each key male demographic.

    However, Nielsen's numbers also show that NFL television ratings fell 9.7 percent during the 2017 regular season. In 2016, the ratings fell 8 percent. The average game in 2017 had 1.6 million fewer viewers than in 2016.

    "We always want ratings to go up, but we're 37 of the top 50 shows, which is higher than ever," Goodell told reporters in Jacksonville before the Jaguars' wild-card playoff game against the Buffalo Bills.

    --Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who has a calf injury, is on track to be at full strength for next weekend's AFC divisional-round playoff game, the NFL Network reported.

    Brown has not played since Week 15. He benefited from the Steelers' first-round playoff bye and is now on track to return to the team's lineup for next Sunday's home playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    The confirmation of Brown's status will be announced during the week, when the Steelers submit their divisional-round practice/injury reports.

    Brown was injured in a 27-24 loss to the New England Patriots on Dec. 17.

    --The Philadelphia Eagles are the first No. 1 seed in the NFL playoffs to begin as an underdog.

    The Atlanta Falcons opened as 2.5-point favorites over the Eagles in Saturday's divisional round game in Philadelphia.

    Since 1975, when the NFL began basing home-field advantage on teams' regular-season winning percentage, no No. 1 seed has ever been an underdog in its first playoff game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The line can change by next Saturday.

    --Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk ended any lingering questions about Mike Mularkey's job security by offering the head coach a vote of confidence in a statement.

    "Our mantra all season has been to take things week by week and not get ahead of ourselves and it obviously has served us well," she said in the statement. "I regret that outside rumors gained a life of their own. No one has been a bigger supporter of Mike Mularkey than I have over the last two-plus seasons.

    "Mike and (general manager Jon Robinson) have changed the culture of our team and organization and I am so happy we have been able to bring success on the field to our fans -- winning 19 games over the last two seasons, including our first playoff win in nine years.

    "Just to eliminate any distractions moving forward, Mike Mularkey is our head coach and will be our head coach moving forward."

    --The Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League have offered an undisclosed contract to former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the team announced.

    The contract offer keeps Manziel on the team's negotiation list, per CFL rules.

    The Tigers-Cats were only required to make a minimum offer, which would be a two-year deal with a first-year salary of approximately $43,500 in U.S. currency. TSN's CFL Insider Dave Naylor said the sum is "believed be a competitive offer, not just the minimum to extend their rights beyond 10-day window."

    --Longtime NFL referee Jeff Triplette is retiring, multiple outlets reported.

    Triplette's last game likely wasn't his best as he came under scrutiny during Saturday's AFC wild-card tilt between the visiting Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs. His performance in that game is not believed to have been the reason for his expected retirement announcement, according to reports.

    Triplette blew his whistle on what appeared to be a fumble by Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, negating a Chiefs recovery. Officials ruled the play dead, however, determining Mariota's forward progress stopped before the ball came loose.

    Rulings regarding forward progress cannot be reviewed.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Eagles first No. 1 seed to begin as 'dog
    January 7, 2018


    The Philadelphia Eagles are the first No. 1 seed in the NFL playoffs to begin as an underdog.

    The Atlanta Falcons opened as 2.5-point favorites over the Eagles in Saturday's divisional round game in Philadelphia.

    Since 1975, when the NFL began basing home-field advantage on teams' regular-season winning percentage, no No. 1 seed has ever been an underdog in its first playoff game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The line can change by Saturday.

    The reason for the Eagles being the underdog likely relates to quarterback Carson Wentz suffering a season-ending knee injury in early December. Backup Nick Foles has not produced at the same rate as Wentz under center.

    According to ESPN, Westgate Superbook oddsmaker Ed Salmons estimates the Eagles, with a healthy Wentz, could have been as much as 6.5-point favorites over the Falcons. Without him, Salmons and other Las Vegas oddsmakers say Philadelphia would be an underdog to any other team in the NFC playoffs this week.

    The Falcons beat the Los Angeles Rams 26-13 Saturday to advance. They will play at Philadelphia as the first No. 6 seed to be favored in the divisional round.

    Bettors were siding with the Falcons over the Eagles early. The line had already grown to Atlanta minus-3 on Sunday morning at some sportsbooks.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL Playoff Capsules
    January 7, 2018


    NEW ORLEANS (AP) Drew Brees passed for 376 yards and two touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints held off Carolina's late comeback bid to seal a 31-26 victory in their NFC wild-card game on Sunday.

    The Panthers had a first down on the Saints 26-yard line with 58 seconds left, but heavy pressure by All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan a couple plays later induced an intentional grounding penalty on Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, making it third-and-25 on the Saints 34 and a required 10-second runoff left 22 seconds on the clock.

    After an incompletion in the end zone on third down, Vonn Bell sacked Newton on a safety blitz, ensuring the Saints (12-5) swept all three meetings with Carolina (11-6) this season, in addition to winning their first playoff game in four seasons.

    Brees' touchdowns went for 80-yards to Ted Ginn and 9 yards to tight end Josh Hill. Fullback Zach line and running back Alvin Kamara each ran for short touchdowns, the latter set up by Michael Thomas 46-yard reception.

    Thomas caught eight passes for 131 yards on a day when the Saints needed the passing game to compensate for a ground game that struggled to get going.

    JAGUARS 10, BILLS 3

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Blake Bortles put together one decent drive all day, doing as much with his legs as his arm, and the defensive-minded Jacksonville Jaguars eked out an ugly and sometimes unwatchable victory against the Buffalo Bills in an AFC wild-card game.

    In the postseason for the first time since January 2008, the third-seeded Jaguars (11-6) advanced to play at No. 2 seed Pittsburgh next week.

    The sixth-seeded Bills (9-8) will head home after ending the longest, current playoff drought in North American professional sports.

    Bortles was a big reason Jacksonville won the game and a big reason it was so close. He was off most of the day, misfiring short and long, but made up for it with 88 yards rushing - becoming the second starting quarterback in the past 25 years to win a playoff game with more rushing yards than passing (87). Atlanta's Michael Vick also did it against the St. Louis Rams in the 2004 playoffs.

    Bortles' TD pass to backup tight end Ben Koyack late in the third quarter was his best throw of the game, helping Jacksonville win its first playoff game at home since the 1997 season.

    The Bills finished with 263 yards, with 119 of those coming from hobbled running back LeSean McCoy (ankle). Quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the game after being thrown to the ground by Dante Fowler Jr. and hitting his head hard. Nathan Peterman entered the game with 1:27 remaining. All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey tipped and then intercepted Peterman's third pass, and the Jaguars ran out the clock.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    AFC Divisional Notes
    January 7, 2018


    Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018

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

    Line Movement:
    BookMaker.eu opened New England as a 13 -point home favorite while the Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook sent the defending champions out as -14. The offshore shop dropped their number to -13 while the SuperBook dipped to -13 . The total opened 47 on Sunday afternoon and it hasn’t seen an upward or downward adjustment.

    Tennessee Road Record: 4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS
    New England Home Record: 6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS

    Head-to-Head: The Patriots have won six straight encounters against the Titans dating back to 2003 while going 5-1 against the spread. The last meeting took place in December of 2015 from Foxboro and New England captured a 33-16 win over Tennessee as a 14-point home favorite. The one cover during this stretch by the Titans occurred in the 2004 postseason when New England won 17-14 but failed to cash as a six-point home favorite. Coincidentally, that game was also played in the Divisional Playoff round.

    Playoff Notes: Bill Belichick has gone 25-9 in the playoffs with the Patriots. At home, the team has gone 17-3 SU and 11-5-1 ATS during this span. In the last 10 postseason games played at Foxboro, the Patriots are 9-1 SU and 7-3 ATS with six of the victories coming by double digits. Last Saturday’s playoff win over Kansas City was the first postseason victory for Tennessee since 2004. The Titans have gone 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS in their last four playoff games as visitors while the ‘under’ has gone 4-0.

    Total Notes: Tennessee has seen the ‘over’ go 9-8 this season but it produced a 5-4 record to the ‘under’ on the road. New England started out the season with four straight ‘over’ winners but closed with a 9-3 ‘under’ run. At Foxboro, the Patriots saw the ‘under’ go 5-3 and that includes a run of five consecutive tickets to the low side entering the playoffs despite the offense averaging 29.4 points per game at Foxboro this season. The ‘over’ has gone 4-2 in the last six meetings between the Titans and Patriots.

    Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018

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


    Line Movement: The Steelers opened as 7 -point home favorites over the Jaguars at a few offshore betting shops and at the SuperBook. Depending where you play, you can still get +7 with Jacksonville while a few other outfits have dropped Pittsburgh to 7 (-120). The ‘over/under’ has been holding steady at 41.

    Jacksonville Road Record: 4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS
    Pittsburgh Home Record: 6-2 SU, 3-5 ATS

    Head-to-Head: These teams played at Heinz Field in Week 5 and the Jaguars stunned the Steelers 30-9 as 7 -point road underdogs. Jacksonville led 7-6 but they blew the game open with a pair of defensive touchdowns in the third quarter and they added a 90-yard touchdown run in the final two minutes. The Steelers outgained the Jaguars but did themselves in with five turnovers, all of them interceptions from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Prior to that setback, Pittsburgh had won three in a row over Jacksonville. Including the earlier meeting this season, the Jaguars have gone 4-1 both SU and ATS in their last five visits to Western Pennsylvania.

    Playoff Notes: These teams met in the 2009 playoffs and Jacksonville posted a 31-29 road win over Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round but it failed to cover as a three-point road favorite. Sunday’s 10-3 home playoff win over Buffalo was the first postseason victory for the Jaguars since the aforementioned win over the Steelers. Pittsburgh has gone 13-7 in the playoffs with Big Ben at QB and that includes a 6-3 record at home. He’s gone 5-1 both SU and ATS in his last six playoff games at home and the average margin of victory came by 10 points per game.

    Total Notes: Jacksonville has seen the ‘under’ go 9-8 this season, which includes a 5-3 mark on the road. The Jaguars posted the second-best scoring defense (15.4 PPG) on the road this season. The Steelers were a great ‘under’ bet this season, going 10-5-1. However, Pittsburgh was 5-3 to the ‘over’ at home and the Steelers defense (23.4 PPG) was surprisingly worse at home than on the road (15.1 PPG) this season. Going back to 2002, the last 10 meetings between the pair have watched the totals break even at 5-5 but the ‘under’ has connected in the last three matchups. With Big Ben as QB, the Steelers have seen the ‘over’ go 8-1 in home playoff games the team averaged 26.2 PPG in those games.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 01-09-2018 at 02:55 AM.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFC Divisional Notes
    January 7, 2018


    Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018

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


    Line Movement: The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook sent out Atlanta as a 2 -point road favorite over Philadelphia, the No. 1 seed in the NFC. As Micah Roberts reported in his Wild Card Betting Recap, the books have made a major adjustment to Eagles backup quarterback Nick Foles.

    All of the sportsbooks make a big mistake with their opening total, which was posted anywhere from 43 to 44 . As of Sunday night, that number is down to 41 across all outfits.

    Atlanta Road Record: 6-3 SU, 3-6 ATS
    Philadelphia Home Record: 7-1 SU, 5-3 ATS

    Head-to-Head: The Eagles captured a 24-15 win over the Falcons in last year’s regular season as one-point favorites. Prior to that win, Atlanta had won three in a row against Philadelphia between 2011 and 2015 but two of the victories came by two and four points. These teams met in the 2004 NFC Championship and Philadelphia posted a 27-10 home win over Atlanta and then quarterback Michael Vick.

    Playoff Notes: The Falcons improved to 4-5 in the playoffs under QB Matt Ryan after last Saturday’s 26-13 win at the Los Angeles Rams. The road victory was the first for Atlanta in the playoffs since 2003. The franchise was on a four-game losing skid and that doesn’t include last year’s loss in the Super Bowl to New England. Philadelphia has dropped its last four games in the playoffs, the most recent setback coming in 2014 when New Orleans defeated the Eagles 26-24 on the road. The Eagles are 1-2 in their last three postseason games at home and all of them were close calls, being decided by five points or less.

    Total Notes: Atlanta owns the best ‘under’ mark (12-5) in the NFL and that includes a 6-3 record away from home. Including Saturday’s ‘under’ result against the Rams, the Falcons have seen their last six games lean to the low side. The defense has allowed 18.2 PPG in eight games against playoff teams this season, which has helped the ‘under’ go 8-0. Philadelphia saw the ‘under’ go 8-7-1 this season, which includes a 5-3 record at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles were ranked second in scoring defense at home, surrendering just 13.4 points per game.

    Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018

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

    Line Movement:
    The Vikings were installed as 3 -point home favorites over the Saints and that number was nudged up to -4 at BookMaker.eu. The total also was pushed from 44 up to 45 at the offshore outfit.

    New Orleans Road Record: 4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS
    Minnesota Home Record: 7-1 SU, 6-1-1 ATS

    Head-to-Head: This playoff game is also a rematch from this year’s regular season as the Vikings and Saints met in the Monday Night Football opener on Week 1. In that contest, Minnesota looked very impressive as it notched a 29-19 win over New Orleans as a three-point home favorite. The Vikings outgained the Saints (470-344) behind then starting QB Sam Bradford (346 yards, 3 TDs). Both teams left a ton of points off the board as they combined for 11 scores, but seven of them were field goals. Prior to this encounter, New Orleans has won four straight meetings against Minnesota between 2010 and 2014.

    Playoff Notes: The Saints improved to 7-4 in the playoffs after Sunday’s 31-26 home win over Carolina. A lot of the success during this span has come at home (5-0) and not on the road (1-4). The other outcome occurred in Super Bowl XLIV when the Saints defeated the Colts, 31-17. Minnesota hasn’t won a playoff game since 2010 when it blasted Dallas 34-3 at the old Metrodome. In the 2015 postseason, the club had a chance to get a victory but a late missed field goal cost them in a 10-9 home loss to Seattle. In the 2009 playoffs, New Orleans defeated Minnesota 31-28 in the NFC Championship before eventually winning the Super Bowl. The Vikings had a great shot to win the game but a careless Brett Favre interception late in the fourth quarter cost the team dearly.

    Total Notes: The Week 1 meeting had a closing total of 47 and the game went ‘over.’ This week’s number will likely be the lowest total in a game for New Orleans this season. The Vikings saw the ‘under’ go 9-7 this season and that includes a 5-3 record to the low side at home. The Vikings were ranked first in scoring defense (15.8 PPG) and that number was even better (12.5 PPG) at U.S. Bank Stadium. New Orleans has watched the ‘over’ go 10-7 this season. On the road, the Saints were 5-4 to the ‘over’ despite their defense (18.2 PPG) posting better numbers as visitors. The Saints have seen the ‘over’ go 8-3 in playoff games with Brees under center. The club has averaged 25.6 PPG in six games outside of the Superdome during this span. Minnesota has watched seven of its last eight playoff games go ‘under’ the total.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 01-09-2018 at 02:56 AM.
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    Books clean up Wild Card win
    January 7, 2018


    All four underdogs covered the spread during Wild Card weekend to give the Nevada sports books a great start to the 2018, which was a complete turnaround from last season when the books got buried on the same weekend with favorites going 4-0 against the spread.

    "It seems like we've had more losing Wild Card weekends than wins over the past five or six seasons," Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay said following the Saints 31-26 win over the Panthers (+7) Sunday night.

    Last season the parlay risk piled up after each favorite covered the number culminating with several 3 and 4-team parlays cashing on the final game posted. This season, momentum was halted before it even began when the Titans (+8.5) upset the Chiefs, 22-21, Saturday night at Kansas City. For a while, it looked like a wild card re-run from 2017 when the Chiefs jumped out to a 21-3 halftime lead. But then they were outscored 19-0 in the second-half. William Hill and CG Technology books paid out a Las Vegas-best +380 on the money-line.

    The Chiefs are now 1-9 ATS in their last 10 playoff games and they've lost six straight home games in the playoffs. The Titans have now covered six of their last seven games and their reward for winning is playing next week at No. 1 seeded New England where the Patriots have been installed as a 13.5-point favorite.

    Saturday's late game saw the Falcons (+6.5) win 26-13 against the Rams in Los Angeles, which paid +240 on the money-line. It secured a monster day for the sports books and virtually killed all the parlay and teaser risk and busted up the popular favorite money-line parlay plays. The big money favorite money-line parlay bettors didn't cash one NFL ticket over the weekend.

    Sunday's games had the 'dogs barely cover, which aided teaser bettors. It was hard to lose a teaser on Sunday with the Jaguars 10-3 home win over the Bills (+8.5) and the Panthers (+7) covering in defeat. All four sides covered on the teaser.

    "Saturday was great, but Sunday was just okay," said Kornegay. "We had a couple of house players that did well with the Jaguars and Panthers. We still needed the 'dogs in both games, but the day ended up being only a small winner."

    Kornegay also said action was a little lighter on Sunday compared to Saturday. "Bettors didn't reload like usual after a tough Saturday for them," he said.

    What's really amazing about January comparisons is that more underdogs have covered already, four in four games, than the entire playoffs last season when the favorites went 9-2 both SU and ATS. The majority of the betting public loves their favorites. Last January ended up being a blood bath in the NFL for the books.

    To keep the comparison going, last season's Divisional Playoff round saw two underdogs win outright, the only two of the entire playoffs, and two favorites win and cover.

    WENTZ WORTH

    If you're looking at the Falcons favored by -2.5 at Philadelphia this weekend and think something looks off, you're correct. It all rests with back-up quarterback Nick Foles having his value dropped by oddsmakers which in turn makes the Eagles rating drop. The defending NFC champs are gaining momentum and the Eagles look nothing like the team Carson Wentz led to an 11-2 start before suffered a torn ACL and was lost for the season.

    "At the time of the injury, we we're thinking Wentz was worth about 4.5-points because Foles has had success in the NFL before," Kornegay said. "But after each of his starts, we started increasing Wertz's value, and downgrading Foles and the Eagles. We're thinking he's closer to 8 or even 9-points, which is what your seeing with this spread."

    That means Wentz is in the Aaron Rodgers neighborhood of value. Rodgers is the most valuable QB to the number just because of the drop-off to the back-up. So the question you might ask yourself this week is whether Foles is better than Packers back-up Brett Hundley. If you're thinking he is, and Foles is, than you have to take the points with Philadelphia at home in what should probably be a pick 'em game. When Falcons -3 showed briefly at a few books, sharp action took the Eagles +3 wherever available.

    Another reason for the Falcons inflation is they have the trust of the bettors and will be a popular play this weekend. They see the momentum and many had the Falcons on the money-line against the Rams who led the league in scoring (29.9 PPG). The public always gravitates to supporting the high-scoring teams, so it's a major statement they came in on the Falcons on the road.

    Foles came in late to relieve Wentz in Week 13 at the Rams and led them to a 43-35 win. In his first start the next week at the Giants he threw for 237 yards, 4 touchdown passes and didn't have an interception in the Eagles' 34-29 win. In Week 15 at home against the Raiders, Foles looked lost at times in a 19-10 win where he passed for 163 yards, 1 TD and 1 pick.

    "Even in the 4 TD game he missed a lot of open targets and it got even worse the following week against the Raiders," said Kornegay.

    In Week 17 against the Cowboys, the Eagles rested some of their starters, but Foles made 11 passes and had an interception in a 6-0 loss. The most revealing evidence that Foles has been overrated initially is that the Eagles failed to cover the spread in all three of his starts.
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    Opening Line Report - DP
    January 8, 2018


    Wild-card weekend featured an against-the-spread sweep by the four underdogs, a result partly attributable to inflated lines. While both 'dogs won Saturday’s games outright, the Bills covered as 8.5-point dogs in a 10-3 loss at Jacksonville on Sunday, and the Panthers cashed while catching 6.5 at New Orleans later that afternoon.

    The underdogs may offer value in the divisional round as well.

    “As a bookmaker, you want to open these things higher than you even think they are. Even if you write a bet or two on the dog it’s no big deal, because with all the teasers and money lines, straight bets and parlays, you’ll still need that side,” Ed Salmons, oddsmaker at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, said Sunday night. “That’s reflected in this week’s (divisional round) lines, too. You can see how these things are all really juiced up.”

    With that, here are the early betting numbers for this week’s quartet of playoff games. Point spreads and totals listed are the Vegas consensus as of Monday morning, and differences among sports books and early moves are also noted.

    Saturday, January 13, 2018

    Atlanta Falcons (-2.5, 41.5) at Philadelphia Eagles - (NBC, 4:35 p.m. ET)


    For the first time since the expansion of the NFL playoff field to 12 teams in 1990, bookmakers have installed a No. 1 seed as an underdog in the divisional round. The betting line for Saturday afternoon’s affair is an obvious reflection of the quarterback situation: It’s Matt Ryan, last season’s MVP and near-Super Bowl hero, vs. Nick Foles, who has not impressed in Carson Wentz’s stead.

    “It’s based on perception, that’s how this game is made,” Salmons said of opening Atlanta -2.5. “The perception is the Eagles are no good with Nick Foles and Atlanta is the team that should have won the Super Bowl and just won their hardest game (of the season) against the Rams, and they’ll go in and roll the Eagles. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I think that’s what (the public is) going to bet, and that’s why the line is where it is."

    “We’ll need the Eagles, and there’s no reason to need the Eagles at pick ‘em because if people want to lay 2.5 or 3, let ‘em,” he added.

    South Point sports book director Chris Andrews was surprised to see the Falcons as the team laying the points.

    “I don’t agree with the number at all. I think it’s a huge overreaction,” Andrews said.

    With a healthy Wentz, Philly would be about a 7.5-point favorite, Andrews estimated, “so you’re talking about a 10-point difference with Foles. Foles isn’t great, but he isn’t terrible.”

    Foles’ performance over the last few games notwithstanding, bettors shouldn’t forget how good the Eagles have been this season.

    “Philly is solid up and down that whole lineup, it’s not just at quarterback,” Andrews said. “I know Foles has not looked great, but he’s had a couple weeks now at starter, and I really like the coaching staff for Philly and I think Foles will play well. I was thinking pick ‘em, and that, ‘Boy, I would still play Philly at pick ‘em.’ And here we are at 2.5.”

    The Wynn’s John Avello, though, believes the Falcons deserve to be favored in this spot.

    “They’re certainly not the same team without their starting quarterback,” Avello said of the Eagles.

    Early bettors agree.

    “I opened at 2. I thought that was plenty high, but we went to 2.5, and they’re laying me the 2.5,” Andrews said. “I don’t know if I’m going to go to 3 or not, but right now it’s been all Atlanta money at my store.”

    The line did bump to Atlanta -3 (even) during early wagering on some boards, and that’s getting real close to a number that will pique wiseguys’ interest in the dog.

    “I think wiseguys will take Philadelphia +3 flat at any time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point, they drive this line back toward Atlanta -1 or even a pick,” Salmons said.

    The public laying the points and the sharps taking them is a good situation for books.

    “As a bookmaker, you never want the public and the wiseguys to be on the same side,” Salmons said. “That’s your worst nightmare because you have a huge decision, and that’s the last thing you want.”

    Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13.5, 47) - (CBS, 8:15 p.m. ET)


    The Westgate’s in-house numbers had the Patriots as a 13.5-point favorite for Saturday’s primetime offering, but the bookmakers decided to post New England -14 to test the market. The opening line drew close to $10,000 in bets on the Titans +14, prompting an adjustment to 13.5. Those wagers on the 'dog were likely from bettors grabbing the biggest number they could find.

    On the other hand, public bettors aren’t scared off by large spreads when it comes to the Patriots. And laying big numbers at home in the divisional round is a familiar role for New England. Last season, also on a Saturday night, the Pats were 16-point favorites vs. Houston .

    “They didn’t care, they laid it to death,” Salmons said of casual bettors.

    They also cashed, as New England won the game, 34-16.

    Avello gives the Titans a puncher’s chance in Foxboro next weekend, a better chance, in fact, than Jacksonville has at Pittsburgh on Sunday despite the shorter point spread.

    “Their defense seems to play better when it gets to the postseason, but you can run the ball the on ‘em, you can throw the ball on ‘em,” Avello said of the Patriots, “I mean, they bend. That’s the only reason I give the Tennessee team a shot.”

    Sunday, January 14, 2018

    Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5, 41) - (CBS, 1:05 p.m. ET)


    The spread of Sunday’s AFC divisional game is identical to the line when these teams met at Pittsburgh in Week 5 of this year's regular season. The Jags, as 7.5-point dogs, rolled to a 30-9 win, thanks largely to one of the worst games of Ben Roethlisberger’s career (five INTs).

    But isn’t Jacksonville perceived as a better team now than it was then?

    Maybe not after an inept offensive showing at home Sunday vs. the Bills.

    “I don’t think they’re any good now. Their offense today was terrible,” Avello said Sunday.

    The true line of this game is Pitt -6.5, Salmons estimated, but again, the Westgate wanted to go higher and posted -7.5 as the opener. Seeing Pitt -6 offshore, bettors wagered about $10,000 on Jacksonville +7.5 at the Westgate, prompting a move 7.

    The line is since back to 7.5, and it may not be done running.

    “This game’s going off no less than 7.5, this thing may go to 9,”Avello said. “This thing’s going up. There is nobody interested in betting Jacksonville after they saw them play (Sunday). They were home against a Buffalo Bills team that is in pro football’s middle of the pack and they had a rough time with them.”

    Wiseguys, however, may be interested in the dog – if they have the stomach to watch their money ride on Blake Bortles.

    “It feels like above 7 is a Jacksonville take in this game, but you get Blake Bortles,” Salmons said.

    New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-4, 44.5) - (FOX, 4:40 p.m. ET)


    The weekend’s best game on paper opened Minnesota -3.5 at the Westgate, but it didn’t take long for the line to settle at -4 market-wide. It may go higher before game time.

    “The Vikings are very public. The Vikings have treated the bettors very well this year (11-5 ATS), and I don’t think they’ve forgotten that,” Salmons said. “I think the public will push this. I wouldn’t be surprised if this game closes 4.5 or even 5.”

    And since this is the last game of the weekend, books will likely be facing plenty of teaser and money-line parlay risk tied to the favorite.

    “The last game of a four-game NFL weekend, you’re always rooting for the underdog, so we definitely want to stay on the high side of this game,” Salmons said.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Armadillo: Tuesday's six-pack

    — Stanford 77, USC 76— This game Sunday night ended when a kid on Stanford drained a half-court shot at the buzzer. It is a clip worth finding on the Interweb- quite an ending.

    — Raptors 114, Nets 113 OT— Toronto is a very quiet 28-10.

    — Vegas Golden Knights, an NHL expansion team, are 18-2-1 at home.

    — Dustin Johnson almost got a hole-in-one on a 433-yard, par-4 hole Sunday- he won the tournament by eight shots.

    — Duquesne is a surprising 3-0 in Atlantic 14, with new coach Keith Dambrot, who was Lebron James’ high school coach.

    — Minnesota 127, Cleveland 99— Lebron was a career-worst minus-39.


    **********

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

    13) Alabama 26, Georgia 23 OT— Freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa was 35-53 passing this whole season, before this game. Alabama put him in to start second half, trailing 13-0- they looked dead, but Tagovailoa was 14-24/166 with three TD’s, including the game-winner in OT, as Alabama wins another national title, in highly dramatic fashion.

    Jalen Hurts is 25-2 as Alabama’s QB, but he’ll never start another game— will he transfer?

    12) Watching the ESPN Film Room on ESPN News, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said: “In bowl games, officials are going to let ‘em play a little more. So if you have to hold, hold.” Kevin Sumlin agreed and said same thing also goes for defensive backs in pass coverage.

    11) Gundy made another point just before halftime, saying how important it is for teams to have something positive happen right before the half. “It really helps the mood in the locker room at halftime.” Halftimes are lot longer in college ball than the NFL.

    10) Kevin Sumlin got fired by Texas A&M after this season; if he wants to go on TV next year, he will be very good. Good natured guy, gets points across quickly.

    9) Gundy and Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald agreed that their teams are better off with their coordinators calling plays, rather than the head coach, who has to manage the administrative aspects of the program. They were saying playcallers study film “for eight hours a day”.

    8) 6.5 years ago, Georgia QB Jake Fromm played in the Little League World Series; now he was a QB in the national championship game as a freshman in college.

    7) A gambler at South Point Casino in Las Vegas risked $557,500 to win $300,000, taking Alabama on the money line. No pointspread. Yikes.

    I can’t even imagine what it must be like watching a game with half a million bucks riding on it. Especially this game!!!

    6) Portent of the future? National anthem was played with Donald Trump on the field, but the players were in the locker room. Thats smart, avoiding any potential political displays or any other controversies that would take away from the game.

    5) If Alabama played 14-0 Central Florida on a neutral field, they’d be a 13-point favorite.

    4) In divisional round of NFL playoffs, #1-seeds are 16-5 against #6 seeds- the #6-seed won a road game the previous week, while the #1-seed had a bye.

    3) When a 2-seed plays a 3-seed in this round, the 2-seed is 26-8- the bye really does help.

    2) Since 2001, when the Patriots play at home in this round of playoffs, they’re 5-4-2 vs spread.

    1) Chicago Bears hired Chiefs’ OC Matt Nagy as their new head coach. Nagy played six years in the Arena League— he joins Jay Gruden as former AFL QB’s who are now NFL head coaches.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Sharps have their say and move lines early in NFL Divisional Playoff betting action
    Patrick Everson

    "The public is going to find a way to bet the Falcons, but the minimal early action we’ve seen from the pros is on Philly."

    It’s on to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, where the big news in the first game next weekend isn’t who’s playing, but rather who’s not playing. Patrick Everson checks in on the opening lines for all four matchups, with insights from Scott Cooley, odds consultant for offshore sportsbook Bookmaker.eu.

    Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (+3)

    Philadelphia secured the NFC’s No. 1 seed and a bye, but lost a huge key component to its success when quarterback Carson Wentz tore an ACL in a Week 14 win over the Los Angeles Rams. The Eagles (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS) managed to win their next two games behind Nick Foles, but looked dreadful in the regular-season finale, a 6-0 home loss to Dallas as a 3.5-point underdog.

    Defending NFC champion Atlanta served notice in the wild card round that it’s ready to defend that crown. The sixth-seeded Falcons (11-6 SU, 8-9 ATS) went on the road and upset the third-seeded Los Angeles Rams 26-13 as a 6.5-point pup on Saturday.

    “If Carson Wentz is under center, we’re looking at the Eagles being at least 4-point favorites,” Cooley said. “The public is going to find a way to bet the Falcons, but the minimal early action we’ve seen from the pros is on Philly. The under got hit early from sharps, quickly dropping from 43.5 down to 41.”

    The total ticked back up to 41.5 later Sunday at Bookmaker.eu.

    Find more online sportsbooks and reviews at OddsShark.com

    Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13.5)

    Defending Super Bowl champ New England is again the No. 1 seed, securing the one-week break while the wild card games played out. The Patriots (13-3 SU, 11-5 ATS) won and cashed in their last three games, including a 26-6 rout of the New York Jets as a hefty 17-point chalk in Week 17.

    Tennessee got into the playoffs as the No. 5 seed, then did some immediate damage in the wild card round. After trailing No. 4 seed Kansas City 21-3 at halftime, the Titans (10-7 SU, 9-7-1 ATS) rallied for a 22-21 victory as an 8.5-point road pup.

    “Seemingly every week, the Patriots see a huge spread, and seemingly every week, they cover it,” Cooley said. “It’ll be shocking if we get more than a dozen bets from the public on Tennessee. Certainly, we’ll get some ‘dog money from the sharps, but it won’t be enough to offset the New England backers.”

    Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)

    Pittsburgh won 10 of its last 11 games, but that one loss made all the difference, as it was to New England in Week 15 and decided who would have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The second-seeded Steelers (13-3 SU, 7-9 ATS) finished the regular season with a 28-24 win over Cleveland as a 5-point home favorite, resting several key players in the process.

    Jacksonville, the No. 3 seed, finished the regular season with a pair of losses, but got it together just enough to advance through wild card weekend. The Jaguars (11-6 SU, 9-8 ATS) held off No. 6 seed Buffalo 10-3, falling just short as 8-point favorites.

    “Not much has changed since we set odds for that Week 5 matchup earlier this season,” Cooley said, alluding to the Steelers being 7.5-point road faves in a 30-9 loss to the Jags that week. “There’s no question where the public money will go, but I do expect this number to come down before it goes up. While the Jags looked anemic offensively this weekend, they can limit Pittsburgh with their defensive unit.”

    New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-4)

    Minnesota nabbed the NFC’s No. 2 seed as the North Division champ, and with Philadelphia’s QB issues could end up at home the entire postseason, as the Super Bowl is in Minneapolis this year. The Vikings (13-3 SU, 11-5 ATS) won 11 of their last 12 SU (9-3 ATS), finishing with a 23-10 victory over Chicago laying 13.5 points at home.

    New Orleans won the NFC South and the No. 4 seed, then withstood a Carolina rally to advance from the wild card round. The Saints (12-5 SU, 9-8 ATS), 6.5-point chalk at home Sunday, saw a 21-6 lead turn into just a 24-19 margin, but they held on for a 31-26 victory.

    “We’re definitely not expecting any Vikings love from the public bettors, but it will be interesting to see where the wiseguys go with this one,” Cooley said. “Honestly, and you know I’ve been lukewarm on the Saints all year, it feels like this spread should be -6 or higher. Tough to tell where this line is headed.”

    The initial answer was down, as the line dipped to Vikings -3.5 Sunday night.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  10. #880
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    NFL
    Dunkel

    Divisional Round


    Saturday, December 13

    Atlanta @ Philadelphia

    Game 301-302
    January 13, 2018 @ 4:35 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Atlanta
    139.298
    Philadelphia
    140.779
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Philadelphia
    by 1 1/2
    37
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Atlanta
    by 3
    43 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Philadelphia
    (+3); Under

    Tennessee @ New England


    Game 303-304
    January 13, 2018 @ 8:15 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Tennessee
    134.746
    New England
    143.319
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    New England
    by 8 1/2
    44
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    New England
    by 14
    47 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Tennessee
    (+14); Under


    Sunday, January 14

    Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh


    Game 305-306
    January 14, 2018 @ 1:05 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Jacksonville
    131.289
    Pittsburgh
    144.330
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Pittsburgh
    by 13
    45
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Pittsburgh
    by 7
    41
    Dunkel Pick:
    Pittsburgh
    (-7); Over

    New Orleans @ Minnesota


    Game 307-308
    January 14, 2018 @ 4:40 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    New Orleans
    137.248
    Minnesota
    142.785
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Minnesota
    by 5 1/2
    49
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Minnesota
    by 3 1/2
    44 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Minnesota
    (-3 1/2); Over
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  11. #881
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    NFL
    Long Sheet

    Divisional Round


    Saturday, December 13

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ATLANTA (11 - 6) at PHILADELPHIA (13 - 3) - 1/13/2018, 4:35 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    PHILADELPHIA is 17-7 ATS (+9.3 Units) in games played on a grass field over the last 2 seasons.
    ATLANTA is 18-9 ATS (+8.1 Units) against conference opponents over the last 2 seasons.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    PHILADELPHIA is 1-1 against the spread versus ATLANTA over the last 3 seasons
    PHILADELPHIA is 1-1 straight up against ATLANTA over the last 3 seasons
    2 of 2 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TENNESSEE (10 - 7) at NEW ENGLAND (13 - 3) - 1/13/2018, 8:15 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    TENNESSEE is 12-23 ATS (-13.3 Units) against conference opponents over the last 3 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 10-1 ATS (+8.9 Units) as a favorite of 10 or more points over the last 3 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 27-8 ATS (+18.2 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 27-8 ATS (+18.2 Units) in all lined games over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 26-8 ATS (+17.2 Units) as a favorite over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 13-5 ATS (+7.5 Units) in home games over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 13-5 ATS (+7.5 Units) in home lined games over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 16-6 ATS (+9.4 Units) in all games where the total is between 42.5 and 49 points over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 20-6 ATS (+13.4 Units) against conference opponents over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 9-2 ATS (+6.8 Units) off a division game over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 17-7 ATS (+9.3 Units) in games played on turf over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 8-1 ATS (+6.9 Units) in home games off a win against a division rival over the last 3 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 18-4 ATS (+13.6 Units) after 2 or more consecutive wins over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 13-3 ATS (+9.7 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 9-1 ATS (+7.9 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    NEW ENGLAND is 1-0 against the spread versus TENNESSEE over the last 3 seasons
    NEW ENGLAND is 1-0 straight up against TENNESSEE over the last 3 seasons
    1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sunday, December 14

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    JACKSONVILLE (11 - 6) at PITTSBURGH (13 - 3) - 1/14/2018, 1:05 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    PITTSBURGH is 105-76 ATS (+21.4 Units) as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points since 1992.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    JACKSONVILLE is 1-0 against the spread versus PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
    JACKSONVILLE is 1-0 straight up against PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
    1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NEW ORLEANS (12 - 5) at MINNESOTA (13 - 3) - 1/14/2018, 4:40 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    MINNESOTA is 11-4 ATS (+6.6 Units) in all games this season.
    MINNESOTA is 11-4 ATS (+6.6 Units) in all lined games this season.
    MINNESOTA is 21-9 ATS (+11.1 Units) as a favorite over the last 3 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 12-3 ATS (+8.7 Units) in home games over the last 2 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 12-3 ATS (+8.7 Units) in home lined games over the last 2 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 24-8 ATS (+15.2 Units) in all games where the total is between 42.5 and 49 points over the last 3 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 9-2 ATS (+6.8 Units) in home games against conference opponents over the last 2 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 12-3 ATS (+8.7 Units) off a division game over the last 3 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 8-1 ATS (+6.9 Units) in dome games this season.
    MINNESOTA is 8-1 ATS (+6.9 Units) in games played on turf this season.
    MINNESOTA is 9-0 ATS (+9.0 Units) off a win against a division rival over the last 3 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 9-2 ATS (+6.8 Units) after 2 or more consecutive wins over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ORLEANS is 12-3 ATS (+8.7 Units) revenging a loss against opponent over the last 3 seasons.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    MINNESOTA is 1-0 against the spread versus NEW ORLEANS over the last 3 seasons
    MINNESOTA is 1-0 straight up against NEW ORLEANS over the last 3 seasons
    1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL

    Divisional Round


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trend Report
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Saturday, December 13

    ATLANTA @ PHILADELPHIA
    The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Atlanta's last 5 games
    The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta's last 5 games on the road
    Philadelphia is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games at home
    Philadelphia is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing at home against Atlanta

    TENNESSEE @ NEW ENGLAND
    Tennessee is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
    The total has gone OVER in 6 of Tennessee's last 7 games when playing on the road against New England
    New England is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Tennessee
    New England is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Tennessee


    Sunday, December 14

    JACKSONVILLE @ PITTSBURGH
    Jacksonville is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Pittsburgh
    Jacksonville is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Pittsburgh
    Pittsburgh is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games
    Pittsburgh is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home

    NEW ORLEANS @ MINNESOTA
    The total has gone OVER in 6 of New Orleans's last 7 games when playing on the road against Minnesota
    New Orleans is 12-3 SU in its last 15 games
    Minnesota is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
    Minnesota is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL Divisional Round biggest betting mismatches
    Monty Andrews

    In two games since taking over the lead role from injured DeMarco Murray, Titans RB Derrick Henry has racked up 308 rushing and receiving yards and a pair of scores on a whopping 54 touches.

    Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (+3, 41.5)

    Falcons' turnover troubles vs. Eagles' ball-hawking defense

    The Atlanta Falcons are two wins away from a Super Bowl return - and the quest for a second consecutive appearance in the NFL title game continues Saturday against a host Philadelphia Eagles team playing without its biggest weapon. Quarterback Carson Wentz is out for the season with a knee injury, leaving the fate of the Eagles’ season in the hands of backup Nick Foles. But it isn't all doom and gloom for Philadelphia, which has a significant advantage in the turnover department.

    Atlanta did a lot of things right this season, and carried them over into last weekend's 26-13 triumph over the Los Angeles Rams in its wild-card encounter. But forcing turnovers has been an area of weakness for the Falcons, who were one of only four NFL teams to record single-digit fumble recoveries (eight) and interceptions (eight). Atlanta did well to take care of the ball during the regular season - losing just 18 turnovers for a minus-2 differential - but will need to be better if it hopes to get back to the Super Bowl.

    Perhaps the Falcons will learn a thing or two from the Eagles, who received plenty of attention for their terrific offense but were also a force on the defensive end of the football, ranking fourth in the league in total turnovers forced with 31 (19 interceptions, 12 recovered fumbles). They also ranked fourth in the NFL in turnover differential at plus-11 - and in a game that's expected to be a close one, winning the turnover battle could be enough for the Eagles to end Atlanta's shot at an NFC title repeat.

    Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13.5, 47)

    Dynamic Derrick Henry vs. Patriots' putrid run defense

    Between a spread of nearly two touchdowns and news of internal strife involving owner, head coach and franchise player, the New England Patriots might have to work a little harder to gain bettors' confidence ahead of this Saturday's divisional round encounter with the Tennessee Titans. And that isn't all the Patriots need to be concerned about, as they look to contain a Titans running game that could make this one a little too close for comfort despite the lofty spread.

    People are still talking about Marcus Mariota's three-touchdown performance in last week's stunning 22-21 comeback victory over Kansas City, but it wouldn't have been possible without Henry, who carved through the Chiefs' defense for 156 rushing yards and a touchdown in the win.

    In two games since taking over the lead role from injured DeMarco Murray, Henry has racked up 308 rushing and receiving yards and a pair of scores on a whopping 54 touches.

    It's easy to ignore how poor the Patriots' run defense was, considering how well Tom Brady and Co. performed on offense. But bettors can't ignore the fact that New England surrendered a stunning 4.7 yards-per-carry average in the regular season; only the Los Angeles Chargers had a higher YPC mark against.

    Granted, teams only ran the ball 38.2 percent of the time against the Pats, but if the Titans keep things close enough for Henry to remain a factor, the Titan's unlikely Super Bowl run might continue.

    Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5, 40.5)

    Jaguars' red-zone prowess vs. Steelers' downfield struggles

    There was nothing pretty about Jacksonville's first postseason win in more than a decade, but the Jaguars will gladly accept last weekend's 10-3 wild-card triumph over the visiting Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars' trademark defense won the day, limiting Buffalo to 263 total yards while forcing a pair of turnovers. Jacksonville is a healthy underdog for this weekend's encounter at Heinz Field - but if red-zone play is any indication, the Jaguars should be able to keep pace with the host Steelers.

    Most people suspected the Jaguars would boast an impressive defense - and those people certainly weren't disappointed. But getting this far requires a more than passable offense - and Jacksonville overcame some early-season inconsistency to boast the league's second-best red-zone touchdown rate at 64.7 percent. Couple that with the Jaguars limiting opponents to a 37.9-percent success rate inside their 20-yard line - second-best in the league - and no team dominates the red zone like Jacksonville.

    The Steelers have home-field advantage and a pair of dangerous offensive weapons in Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown - but none of that will matter if Pittsburgh can't make inroads in either red zone. The Steelers converted just 50.8 percent of their visits to the opponents' 20-yard line into six points - the 22nd-best rate in the league - and were even worse at defending the red zone, allowing touchdowns on 61.5 percent of opponent opportunities (28th). Big Ben has a big job ahead of him.

    New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-4, 45)

    Saints' third-down woes vs. Vikings' very good 3D showing

    Quarterback playoff experience - or a lack thereof - is the focal point of Sunday's NFC divisional encounter between Drew Brees' New Orleans Saints and Case Keenum's Minnesota Vikings.

    Brees, a former Super Bowl champion, will be making the 12th career post-season appearance in his 17th NFL season; Keenum will be making his first-ever playoff start. But third-down play is a major equalizer here, with the host Vikings owning a significant edge on both sides of the ball.

    New Orleans rode a sensational running game to the fourth-highest scoring average in the league (28 ppg) - but when Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara weren't getting enough yardage on first and second down, the Saints struggled to score or extend drives.

    New Orleans converted just 37.1 percent of its third-down opportunities, good for 20th overall. Things were even worse on the defensive end, with the Saints allowing teams to make good on 41.5 percent of third-down chances (27th overall).

    That doesn't bode well at all for the visitors, as they face a Vikings unit that dominated third-down scenarios for nearly the entire season. It won't surprise anyone that Minnesota held foes to an absurd 25.2-percent success rate on third downs during the regular season - the best mark in the NFL.

    But despite playing without their No. 1 quarterback and running back to start the season, the Vikings made good on better than 43.5 percent of third-down situations - and repeating the feat Sunday will likely mean a win.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Divisional Playoff Trends
    January 9, 2018


    The NFL Divisional Playoff Round games have historically been fertile territory for home teams and favorites (almost always one and the same), their dominance has not been especially pronounced recent years.

    Indeed, since the 2004 postseason, road underdogs stand 30-22-2 against the spread in these playoff games, though home chalk was 4-3-1 the last two seasons.

    Remember some dynamics worth mentioning that are unique to this round.

    Since 1990, when the playoffs expanded from 10 teams to 12, all Division Round hosts are off a “bye” and a week of rest.

    And almost all of the “powerhouse” NFL teams in recent memory are from that first-round “bye” group, including 59 of the last 74 Super Bowl participants since ’78 (when the first-round “bye” was introduced).

    At least one top conference seed has also met defeat in six of the past nine seasons, though top seeds Denver (AFC) & Carolina (NFC) won all of the way thru their respective conference playoffs a year ago.

    Also identifiable in the past with this round are one-sided results, which have recurred with regularity over the decades.

    In fact, since 1975, more than half of these games have been decided by double-digit margins.

    Favored teams laying a TD or more (usually representing the cream of the NFL crop) have covered at a 55% clip (45-37-3) in the Division Round since ‘75, and covered their only chance a year ago (Patriots over Texans).

    A recent Division Round trend note has been on the “totals” side, in particular “over” tickets, which are now 19-9 since the 2010 playoffs after a 3-1 mark in the 2016 playoffs.

    Following are the point-spread results in various spread categories of NFL Division Round playoff games since 1975.

    Our “charting” begins with the ’75 season because, prior to then, playoff home teams were predetermined in a divisional rotation, as opposed to the better won-loss record.

    A “margin of victory” chart for the games since 1975 is included as well.

    POINT-SPREAD RESULTS (1975-2017)
    Category Result
    Favorites vs. line 84-78-5 (1 pick)
    Favorites straight up 117-50
    Favored by 0-3 points 11-16-1
    Favored by 3-6 points 28-25-1
    Favored by 7-9 points 28-26-2
    Favored by 10-13 points 13-8
    Favored by 14 points or more 4-3-1
    Home teams straight up 119-49
    Home teams vs. spread 85-78-5
    Home favorites vs. spread 80-75-5
    Home underdogs vs. spread 4-3
    Home picks vs. spread 1-0
    Over/Under (since 1986) 68-56

    MARGINS OF VICTORY (1975-2017)
    Margin Result
    1-3 points 38
    4-6 points 15
    7-10 points 31
    11-13 points 14
    14 points or more 70
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  15. #885
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    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 01-10-2018 at 02:22 AM.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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