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

  1. #916
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    AFC Notes - Jags at Pats
    January 14, 2018


    The New England Patriots have had plenty of challengers to their throne over the course of the last several seasons, but most comers end up bowing out gracelessly.

    The AFC South had been dominated by the Colts and Texans over the course of the last decade, and that left the Titans and Jaguars out of the playoffs most seasons. Tennessee made a big stink about the fact that New England didn't know anything about it. The results, though, were exactly the same.

    Will the Jacksonville Jaguars have a different fate when they pay their first visit to Foxboro in the playoffs since the Patriots were nearly perfect in the '07 season?

    No Luck in New England

    Last week, the Jaguars had a lot of confidence against the Steelers after pounding them into submission back in Week 5. They have had a great history in Pittsburgh and walked out of Heinz Field with yet another victory.

    Gillette Stadium, though, is a totally different animal. The Jaguars have never won in this building, and in fact, they're only 1-10 all-time against the Patriots regardless of the venue.

    Super Bowl Shufflin'


    The Robert Kraft/Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Patriots have a history of beating the snot out of teams that aren't ready for this moment. Already this season, we've seen New England dismiss Marcus Mariota in his first season in the playoffs, and now, it can do the same to Blake Bortles this week.

    There is only one man who has beaten the Patriots in their history in the playoffs while playing in his first ever postseason, and you have to go back to 1985 to find him. The Super Bowl Shufflin' Chicago Bears were led by a first-time playoff quarterback in Jim McMahon, and he's the only man to beat the Pats while playing in his first year in the postseason.

    All Over the Under

    The playoff history between these two teams has been an interesting one. The Jaguars actually have a win over the Pats in the second season, but you've got to go back to the Drew Bledsoe days to find that win in 1999. This is going to be the fifth all-time meeting of these teams in the playoffs, a stunningly high number of meetings considering the fact that the Jaguars have only been around for two and a half decades.

    The common thread in these games is the under. All four postseason duels between these two sides failed to reach the total, and three of the four games didn't get beyond 35 points.

    Do You Believe in Miracles?

    Coming into this season, the AFC had never had a team win three games or fewer the previous season and reach the AFC Championship Game the next year.

    No more.

    The Jags are the second team since the merger to reach a conference championship game after winning three games or fewer the year prior. The only other team to do so was the 2006 New Orleans Saints who, of course, went on to win the Super Bowl.

    Jaguars vs. Patriots Playoff History
    2008 (at New England): Patriots 31, Jaguars 20 (Jaguars +13.5 / Under 51.5)
    2006 (at New England): Patriots 28, Jaguars 3 (Patriots -7.5 / Under 37.5)
    1999 (at Jacksonville): Jaguars 25, Patriots 10 (Jaguars -8.5 / Under 41)
    1997 (at New England): Patriots 20, Jaguars 6 (Patriots -6.5 / Under 44)

    Jaguars vs. Patriots Opening NFL Odds
    Jaguars at Patriots (-8, 47)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Championship Notes
    January 14, 2018


    AFC Championship - History

    Jacksonville at New England (CBS, 3:05 p.m. ET)

    Jacksonville Road Record: 5-4 SU, 5-4 ATS, 4-5 O/U
    New England Home Record: 7-2 SU, 6-3 ATS, 6-3 O/U


    Line Movements: The Westgate Las Vegas Super Book sent out New England as an eight-point home favorite over Jacksonville and the number quickly jumped to -9. BookMaker.eu, a major offshore betting outfit, opened the Patriots -8 and that number has held steady but they adjusted to -8 (-115) within 30 minutes of posting. As of Sunday night, consensus is New England -9 and 5Dimes.eu is dangling Patriots -10 (+115) for the daring bettors.

    The SuperBook sent out a total of 45 and that was pushed up quickly to 46 . BookMaker.eu opened 46 and its already up to 47. As of 9:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, you can get as low as 46 at a handful of outfits and as high as 27 at the Wynn Las Vegas.

    Head-to-Head: Since Jacksonville joined the NFL in the 1995 season as an expansion team, these two teams have met 11 times. New England has gone 10-1 straight up and 7-4 against the spread in those contests.

    The most recent matchup took place in the 2015 regular season and New England blasted Jacksonville 51-17 as a 13 -point home favorite. Including this win, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has gone 5-0 as a starter in his career against Jacksonville while the team has averaged 32 points per game.

    Betcha Didn’t Know: New England has won 19 straight games (13-6 ATS) against opponents from the AFC South, which includes last Saturday’s Divisional Playoff 35-14 win over Tennessee. The ‘over’ has gone 14-5. Meanwhile, Jacksonville has dropped its last seven road encounters against opponents from the AFC East.

    Playoff Notes: Including last Saturday’s win over Tennessee, the Patriots improved to 26-9 in the playoffs under head coach Bill Belichick. At Foxboro, the team has gone 18-3 SU and 12-8-1 ATS. The most recent home loss for New England came in the 2012-13 AFC Championship when Baltimore surprised the Patriots 28-13 as eight-point road underdogs. Since that setback New England has gone 2-2 in the AFC Championship game and they own a 9-4 overall record in the conference title game.

    Including the two wins this season, Jacksonville owns a 7-6 SU and 5-8 ATS all-time record in the playoffs. The Jaguars have played in the AFC title game twice and they came up short in both games.

    These teams have met four times in the postseason, the last encounter taking place in the 2007-08 playoffs when the Patriots captured a 31-20 win at home but they failed to cover as 13 -point home favorites. Overall, New England is 3-1 versus Jacksonville in the postseason and the home team has won all four games while the ‘under’ has produced a 4-0 mark.

    Total Notes: The Patriots have watched the ‘under’ go 9-8 this season but the ‘over’ has posted a 6-3 mark in games played at Foxboro. Jacksonville has seen its totals produced a stalemate (9-9) through 18 games, which includes a 5-4 ‘under’ mark on the road. The Jaguars have watched the ‘over’ go 8-5 all-time in their 13 playoff games.

    The highest total Jacksonville has seen in a game this season was 43, which occurred in Week 16 when it visited San Francisco. The ‘over’ easily hit as the 49ers and former New England QB Jimmy Garoppolo diced up the Jaguars 44-33 at home.

    NFC Championship – History

    Minnesota at Philadelphia (FOX, 6:40 p.m. ET)

    Minnesota Road Record: 6-2 SU, 6-1-1 ATS, 4-4 O/U
    Philadelphia Home Record: 8-1 SU, 6-3 ATS, 3-6 O/U


    Line Movements: The Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook opened Minnesota as a three-point favorite (-120) but they removed the added juice and went to 3 (EVEN) within the first hour. 5Dimes.eu started with Vikings -3.5 and have dropped to -3 (-120).

    The SuperBook made a mistake with the total, sending out 40 and they adjusted quickly. Most shops are holding between 38 and 38 points while Pinnacle is as low as 37 (-115) as of Sunday night.

    Head-to-Head: Philadelphia defeated Minnesota 21-10 in the 2016 regular season as a three-point home underdog. Prior to that matchup, the Vikings had won and covered the previous two meetings. Since 1992, the teams have met 10 times and Philadelphia is 7-3 overall while the total holds a 5-5 mark.

    The Vikings defeated the Redskins 38-30 in Week 10, which snapped a three-game losing skid to opponents from the NFC East. Philadelphia has gone 4-1 at home in its last five games against NFC North foes, which includes the recent meeting between the pair in 2016.

    Betcha Didn’t Know: Since the 1997-98 postseason, the NFC Championship has seen the road team favored four times and the visitor has gone 3-1 both SU and ATS in that role. The last team to win as a road favorite was San Francisco (-3.5) in the 2012-13 playoff when it rallied past Atlanta 28-24 in the Georgia Dome.

    Playoff Notes: Minnesota’s wild 29-24 win over New Orleans in the Divisional Round was its first playoff victory since 2010. The Vikings haven’t captured a win on the road in the postseason since 2005, going 0-3 SU and 1-2 ATS in their last three.

    The Divisional round win on Saturday over Atlanta also snapped a playoff drought for Philadelphia. The Eagles were 0-4 in their previous four playoff games and two of those losses came at home.

    The Vikings and Eagles have met twice in the playoffs and Philadelphia won and covered both of those games, 27-14 at home in 2005 and 26-14 at the Metrodome in 2009. The ‘under’ cashed in both games.

    Total Notes: Minnesota saw its total results (4-4) break even on the road in the regular season while Philadelphia watched the ‘under’ cash in six of nine home games. Only three of nine opponents were able to score 20-plus points on the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field this season. Minnesota led the league in scoring defense (15.8 PPG) but the home numbers (12.5 PPG) were much better than the road production (19 PPG). The Eagles have seen the ‘under’ cash in their last three playoff games. Two of the last three in the postseason for Minnesota have gone to the low side.

    The Vikings had three totals in the regular season close in the thirties and the ‘over’ went 2-1 in those games. This total will be the lowest number that Philadelphia has seen all season, as it enters this game on a 3-0 ‘under’ run.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Vegas Books win DP Round
    January 14, 2018


    The NFL Divisional Playoff round was a roller coaster of thrills and emotions for bettors at Las Vegas sports books with two underdogs winning outright, the massive favorite covering and the finale on Sunday night landing on the number due to a set of unusual but fantastic circumstances.

    We all witnessed a fantastic piece of NFL history with the Vikings improbable 29-24 win against the Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium, and for those in Las Vegas the final tally came down to the Vikings (-5) decision to forego the extra-point following Stephon Diggs 61-yard walk-off touchdown reception as time expired.

    It was a huge extra-point in town. Books like CG Technology, Wynn Resorts, William Hill and Stratosphere all closed the Vikings -5. Others like the Westgate SuperBook, Boyd Gaming, Station Casinos and MGM Resorts all closed at -5.5.

    "It would have been better if they kicked the extra point," said MGM Resorts VP of race and sports Jay Rood shortly after the Vikings took a knee after the game winning TD. "The whole game was Vikings and Under and the way it turned was almost a seven-figure swing.

    "We went from winning a little, to losing a lot (with Saints winning), to losing a little on the game," Rood said. "And for the weekend we went from winning a lot to just having a decent weekend."

    Rood said his 10 MGM Resorts books went to -5.5 on Saturday a few days after sharps had played the Vikings at -3.5 and -4 earlier in the week. The total also rose from 45 to 47.5 by kickoff.

    The conversion attempt downed cost everyone in town to some degree. Usually, the numbers -5 and -5.5 are considered dead numbers by bookmakers, but both were alive and kicking Sunday night.

    "The turnaround with no extra-point cost us around $200,000," said CG Technology VP of risk management Jason Simbal, who noted the weekend was still went well with the Eagles and Jaguars wins.

    "No extra-point hurt," said William Hill's head bookmaker Nick Bogadanovich. "But still, it was a great weekend. The two games we won with (Eagles and Jaguars) were big, but we lost with the Patriots and Saints games."

    Up north in Reno, results were similar.

    "Saturday was a good double-digit win percentage," said Atlantis sports book director Marc Nelson. "Sunday was okay and the no extra-point was a killer. We were (Vikings) -5 since Tuesday, never moved. Still, a winner for the day and weekend overall."

    The good weekend continued a great NFL Playoffs for the sports books, a major turnaround from a disastrous 2016 NFL Playoffs when favorites went 9-2 against the spread. Through two weekends, the favorites are now 1-7 ATS with four of the underdogs winning outright.

    "It was an excellent start with the Eagles win," Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick said Saturday night. "It was a solid Saturday, but lots of Patriots and Over liability rolls forward into Sunday."

    William Hill's 108 sports books across Nevada had 55 percent of its cash in Saturday's early game laying the points with the Falcons, yet they dropped the number from -3 to -2.5 showing they had respected money on the Eagles. It also stayed in line with a market move several books had made. The Eagles hung on for the 15-10 win.

    In Saturday's late game, there weren't many believers in the Titans with 83 percent of William Hill's betting public laying -13.5 and -14 with Patriots. The Titans scored the first and last TD of the game, but gave up five TDs in between in a 35-14 Patriots win. The Titans late TD may have seemed meaningless, but it sent the game Over 48 much to the delight of most bettors.

    The rollover into Sunday quickly turned the books way when the Jaguars (+7) jumped out to a 21-0 lead at Pittsburgh and held on for a 45-42 win going way Over the total of 41 points. The Golden Nugget, Boyd Gaming and Westgate all closed a city-high +280 on the money-line. MGM's Rood said sharps were on Jaguars early in the week at +7.5 which kept him at Steelers -7 during the busy wagering period over the weekend.

    The Conference Championship games take place Sunday with the Patriots -9 at home against the Jaguars with Wynn's John Avello not wasting any time going to -9.5 on Sunday. Others are certain to be there as well, and likely higher.

    "Slow, but steady Patriots action since we posted the game," said Rood. "I think it'll be -9.5 or -10 soon; tickets are already being bet at a 3-to-1 ratio."

    Sunday's late game in the NFC didn't take long to move. The Vikings opened as three-point road favorites at Philadelphia and it's been bet up to -3.5 with a total at 38 and 38.5. Despite the Eagles impressive home win against the Falcons as a three-point home dog where QB Nick Foles played well, Philly is being doubted again by oddsmakers.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFC Notes - Vikings at Eagles
    January 15, 2018


    The Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles were both faced with some major adversity in the late stages of their Divisional Round playoff games. Like true winners, they were able to fight through their opposition and win their games by a matter of inches on both accounts to get into the NFC Championship Game.

    Now, Case Keenum and Nick Foles make one of the most improbable quarterback battles in a conference championship game in NFL history.

    The Wide-Open NFC

    Since 2003, there are only four teams who have hosted the AFC Championship Game. The NFC? Definitely far from that boring.

    Since 1991, 14 of the 16 teams in the NFC have played in the Super Bowl. The only ones that haven't? The Lions and the Vikings.

    What better way to finally crash into the Super Bowl for the first time in over four decades than to do so when the game is in your own stadium? The Vikings would become the first team in NFL history to play in the Super Bowl in its home stadium.

    Flying Away from Minnesota

    The Eagles don't exactly have the greatest playoff history in the world, but one team they have historically done very well against in the postseason is Minnesota. These two teams have met three times in the playoffs, most recently in 2009. The Eagles are 3-0 SU and 2-0 ATS in those three games, winning all three by double-digits.

    This is going to be the first time that the Eagles have played against Minnesota at home since the '05 playoffs, a game that was won 27-14.

    The Vikings, meanwhile, haven't had any luck playing outdoors in the playoffs in recent history. They haven't won an outdoor playoff game since the '04 playoffs in Green Bay, going 0-3 since that point.

    The New Kids on the Block

    Keenum has only made one playoff spot in his career, and all he did in that one game was hit Stefon Diggs for a 61-yard touchdown on the final play of the game to pull off an improbable comeback.

    Keenum will be remembered most for his relatively lucky touchdown pass to Diggs, but let's remember when he left the field 1:34 left in the game, and had the Vikings ahead 23-21. Effectively, he had to win that game twice.

    Foles has started in two playoff games in his career. He was beaten in his first playoff game when he was Chip Kelly's hand-chosen quarterback for his offense. But here under Doug Pederson, Foles was fantastic, going 23-for-30 for 246 yards against the Falcons.

    These two men are both playing in the biggest games of their career on Sunday, and it's shocking to believe that one of the two will be in the Super Bowl in a couple weeks.

    Barking at Home

    Philadelphia is the 15th home underdog in a conference championship game in NFL history. The Eagles don't exactly have history on their side, knowing that home underdogs are just 6-8 SU and 6-7-1 ATS in the 14 previous examples.

    That said, the last time a No. 1 seed was a dog at home in a conference championship game, the Broncos, who were also +3, beat the Patriots 20-18 at Mile High in the 2016 AFC Championship Game.

    Vikings vs. Eagles Playoff History

    2009 (at Minnesota): Eagles 26, Vikings 14 (Eagles -3.5 / Under 41)
    2005 (at Philadelphia): Eagles 27, Vikings 14 (Eagles -7.5 / Under 47)
    1981 (at Philadelphia): Eagles 31, Vikings 16 (No Line)

    Vikings vs. Eagles Opening NFL Odds
    Vikings at Eagles (+3, 38.5)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    AFC Notes - Jags at Pats
    January 14, 2018


    The New England Patriots have had plenty of challengers to their throne over the course of the last several seasons, but most comers end up bowing out gracelessly.

    The AFC South had been dominated by the Colts and Texans over the course of the last decade, and that left the Titans and Jaguars out of the playoffs most seasons. Tennessee made a big stink about the fact that New England didn't know anything about it. The results, though, were exactly the same.

    Will the Jacksonville Jaguars have a different fate when they pay their first visit to Foxboro in the playoffs since the Patriots were nearly perfect in the '07 season?

    No Luck in New England

    Last week, the Jaguars had a lot of confidence against the Steelers after pounding them into submission back in Week 5. They have had a great history in Pittsburgh and walked out of Heinz Field with yet another victory.

    Gillette Stadium, though, is a totally different animal. The Jaguars have never won in this building, and in fact, they're only 1-10 all-time against the Patriots regardless of the venue.

    Super Bowl Shufflin'

    The Robert Kraft/Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Patriots have a history of beating the snot out of teams that aren't ready for this moment. Already this season, we've seen New England dismiss Marcus Mariota in his first season in the playoffs, and now, it can do the same to Blake Bortles this week.

    There is only one man who has beaten the Patriots in their history in the playoffs while playing in his first ever postseason, and you have to go back to 1985 to find him. The Super Bowl Shufflin' Chicago Bears were led by a first-time playoff quarterback in Jim McMahon, and he's the only man to beat the Pats while playing in his first year in the postseason.

    All Over the Under

    The playoff history between these two teams has been an interesting one. The Jaguars actually have a win over the Pats in the second season, but you've got to go back to the Drew Bledsoe days to find that win in 1999. This is going to be the fifth all-time meeting of these teams in the playoffs, a stunningly high number of meetings considering the fact that the Jaguars have only been around for two and a half decades.

    The common thread in these games is the under. All four postseason duels between these two sides failed to reach the total, and three of the four games didn't get beyond 35 points.

    Do You Believe in Miracles?

    Coming into this season, the AFC had never had a team win three games or fewer the previous season and reach the AFC Championship Game the next year.

    No more.

    The Jags are the second team since the merger to reach a conference championship game after winning three games or fewer the year prior. The only other team to do so was the 2006 New Orleans Saints who, of course, went on to win the Super Bowl.

    Jaguars vs. Patriots Playoff History

    2008 (at New England): Patriots 31, Jaguars 20 (Jaguars +13.5 / Under 51.5)
    2006 (at New England): Patriots 28, Jaguars 3 (Patriots -7.5 / Under 37.5)
    1999 (at Jacksonville): Jaguars 25, Patriots 10 (Jaguars -8.5 / Under 41)
    1997 (at New England): Patriots 20, Jaguars 6 (Patriots -6.5 / Under 44)

    Jaguars vs. Patriots Opening NFL Odds
    Jaguars at Patriots (-8, 47)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Brady on trash talk: 'It's how you play, not what you say'
    January 16, 2018


    Tom Brady is not interested in traveling the same verbal path as Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

    The New England Patriots quarterback kept the brash talk to a minimum on Tuesday, one day after Ramsey was "predicting" a Super Bowl win for the Jaguars.

    "It's how you play, not what you say," Brady said on WEEI's Kirk and Callahan show.

    Brady, whose Patriots host the upstart Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday (3:05 p.m. ET), was complimentary of Jacksonville's stifling defense. After all, the Jaguars own the NFL's top-ranked pass defense (170 yards per game average), No. 2 scoring defense (16.8) and are second in the league in yards permitted per game (286.1).

    "There is not a lot of time for the quarterback to throw," said Brady, who has five Super Bowl rings. "I think the whole secondary knows it. The linebackers know it. They're aggressive. They take chances. They get a lot of turnovers ... (QB) is under pressure all day."

    Ramsey, who is a first-team All-Pro, was feeling quite boastful after the Jaguars posted a 45-42 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday's divisional round game.

    "I ain't got too much to say, but y'all make sure you bring that same energy out here next week and the week after," Ramsey said to fans at a rally at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. "We're going to the Super Bowl and we're going to win that (expletive)."

    Ramsey is no stranger to trash talking, with his on-the-field barbs reportedly getting under the skin of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green earlier this season. The two ended up exchanging punches and were thrown out of their contest on Nov. 5.

    Jaguars coach Doug Marrone downplayed Ramsey's most recent comment, saying it was intended to fire up his team and not the opponent.

    "You come back, and you've got all the fans here and things of that nature," Marrone said Monday. "Obviously that is something that everybody wants to do when you get this close. Whether they have to say it or not, the one thing they do know is the road to it always leads through New England, so our focus isn't on anything else but the New England Patriots. That's exactly what our whole team will be focused on.

    "It will be a great challenge for us obviously, and we're going to have to have a great week."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL Conference Championship opening line report: Eagles playoff home dogs once again
    Patrick Everson

    “Philly in the underdog role once again, but this go-round, they are deserving of the tag.”

    After an exhilarating end to the NFL divisional playoff round, it’s on to the conference championship games, with Super Bowl berths on the line. Patrick Everson checks in on the opening lines and early movement, with insights from Scott Cooley, odds consultant for offshore sportsbook Bookmaker.eu.

    Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots (-8)

    Jacksonville is the surprise guest of the four still around for this playoff party, finally getting a boost from its often inept offense. The third-seeded Jaguars (12-6 SU, 10-8 ATS) forced two turnovers that led to 14 points Sunday at No. 2 Pittsburgh, but also piled up 31 more points of their own volition on the way to a 45-42 shootout victory as a 7-point underdog.

    Meanwhile, there was nothing unusual or unexpected about top-seeded New England earning yet another trip to the AFC title game. The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots (14-3 SU, 12-5 ATS) spotted Tennessee a 7-0 lead Saturday, then steamrolled to a 35-14 victory as a hefty 13.5-point home favorite.

    “We didn’t even want to tempt the bettors with anything closer to a touchdown, and it’s a good thing, because as expected, all of the early money is on New England,” Cooley said. “This spread is probably going to creep north as the week goes on, but I’d be shocked if it went off at double digits. I’m certainly not expecting Jacksonville to win with Blake Bortles at quarterback, but that defense could keep things interesting.”

    After opening the Pats -8, Bookmaker.eu was already up to 9 by late Sunday night. (Find more online sportsbook reviews at OddsShark.com)

    Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (+3)

    By way of one of the most amazing plays in NFL postseason history, Minnesota (14-3 SU, 11-6 ATS) could still become the first team to play the Super Bowl in its home stadium. The second-seeded Vikings appeared dead in the water Sunday, trailing 24-23 at home after No. 4 New Orleans hit a field goal with just 25 seconds remaining.

    The Vikings faced third-and-10 on their own 39 with 10 seconds left and no timeouts when quarterback Case Keenum hit wideout Stefon Diggs 30 yards downfield near the sideline. Inexplicably, Saints safety Marcus Williams completely whiffed on what would have been a game-ending tackle if made inbounds, and Diggs raced to the end zone to give the Vikes a 29-24 victory as a 5.5-point favorite.

    So Minnesota gets an NFC championship date with No. 1 seed Philadelphia, a team that wasn’t expected to survive without QB Carson Wentz, but remains alive and of course with home-field advantage. The Eagles (14-3 SU, 11-6 ATS) went off as 2.5-point underdogs to defending NFC champ and No. 6 seed Atlanta on Saturday, but scrapped their way to a 15-10 victory.

    “Philly in the underdog role once again, but this go-round, they are deserving of the tag,” Cooley said. “We saw a lot of moneyline money on that side against Atlanta, and will likely get the same action here. Minnesota was fortunate to get a win in the divisional round, but it was by far the better team.

    “Two fantastic defenses on display,” Cooley said of the upcoming NFC title tilt, “which should make for an exciting game for the football purists.”

    Minnesota drew the early action Sunday night at Bookmaker.eu, bumping the line up to 3.5.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL Conference Championship Sunday's biggest betting mismatches
    Monty Andrews

    Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots (-9, 46.5)

    Jaguars' ball-hawking prowess vs. Patriots' lack of forced turnovers

    One of the greatest quarterbacks in history is one win away from yet another Super Bowl trip, as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots host the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game. Brady had little trouble against the Tennessee Titans last week, but should have a much tougher time against a Jaguars defense that tormented opposing QBs all season. New England is a big favorite, but Jacksonville has a sizeable edge when it comes to forcing turnovers - and that could even things up this Sunday.

    Few teams provided as many defensive highlights this season as the Jaguars, who surrendered the third-fewest points per game (17.4) while limiting teams to a paltry 4.7 yards per play. Jacksonville unrelenting defensive pressure also resulted in a whopping 33 turnovers forced - second only to the Baltimore Ravens. As a result, the Jaguars finished the regular season as one of only six teams with a double-digit turnover margin (plus-10) despite having one of the shakiest pass offenses in football.

    New England was very careful with the football this season, turning the ball over just 12 times; only the Kansas City Chiefs had fewer turnovers. Yet, while Brady and Co. took care of the pigskin on offense, the Patriots' defense struggled to produce turnovers. New England finished with just 18 forced turnovers during the season (12 interceptions, six fumble recoveries), ahead of only seven other teams - only one of whom reached the postseason. Look for the Jags to exploit the turnover mismatch this Sunday.

    Patriots' surging rushing game vs. Jaguars' suspect run D

    Much of the focus will be on how Brady fares against a Jacksonville defense that produced the most sacks in the NFL during the regular season. But a handful of other matchups are also worth watching. How will Blake Bortles fare in hostile territory, having produced one of the worst completion rates of any starting QB this season? How will Rob Gronkowski match up against a Jags defense that allowed just six red-zone targets to tight ends? And can Jacksonville's run D contain the Pats' solid ground attack?

    The answer to the final question could very well decide the AFC Championship. And if past history is any indicator, New England could find itself with a decided edge in that matchup. The Patriots have averaged 147 rushing yards over their past three games, all lopsided wins - and while you could attribute the total to an increase in rush attempts, New England still averaged a robust 4.3 yards per carry in those games. Only the Denver Broncos have averaged more rushing yards over their most recent three-game stretch.

    The Jaguars defended the pass well in 2017, but struggled against the run. They rank in the bottom third of the league in rushing yards per game allowed (115.2) even after limiting Pittsburgh to 83 yards on the ground this past week. That was more a product of game flow, anyhow; things will be much different against the Patriots, which will put added pressure on a defense that allowed nine more rushing yards per game this season than it did in 2016. If the Jags can't halt the Pats' run game, this could be a laugher.


    Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5, 38)

    Vikings' third-down dominance vs. Eagles' recent drive-extension woes

    Oddsmakers are expecting a defensive struggle Sunday evening as the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles square off with a spot in the Super Bowl at stake. The Eagles won a defensive slog against the Atlanta Falcons last weekend to advance, while the Vikings needed an incredible last-second touchdown pass to stun the new Orleans Saints. Minnesota is a modest favorite for this one, and will look to take advantage of a significant mismatch when it comes to third-down execution.

    The Vikings were the top defensive team in the league by several metrics, most notably how they fared in third-down situations. Minnesota has allowed teams to score or extend drives on a minuscule 25.12 percent of their third-down opportunities; no other team in the NFL has a mark lower than 31.6 percent. All those crushed drives helped Minnesota finish second in the NFL in average possession rate at 54.15 percent - and if that happens again Sunday, the Super Bowl will have the host team on the field.

    A look at the overall picture would suggest that the Eagles actually fared well on third downs, converting at a 42.0-percent clip - eighth-best in the league. But the majority of those conversions came with Carson Wentz under center - and now that he's out for the season, the Philadelphia offense has been far less effective. The Eagles have made good on just 23.7 percent of their third-down chances over the past three games - the third-worst rate of any team over its most recent three-game stretch.

    Vikings' so-so ground game vs. Eagles' sensational run D

    With both teams relying on journeyman quarterbacks who didn't begin the season as starters - and with this game being played outdoors - the NFC Championship could very well be decided by the respective ground games. And while both teams have been terrific at defending the run this season, the Eagles also ran the ball extremely well, averaging the third-most yards per game on a healthy 4.4 yards-per-carry average. The Vikings had the volume, but that quantity didn't translate to quality.

    Minnesota's 1-2 punch of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon certainly produced plenty of points; the Vikings averaged a rushing touchdown per game this season, the sixth-highest scoring rate in football. But Murray, McKinnon and the rest of the Minnesota rushing game averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, good for 23rd out of 32 teams. Minnesota does have the eighth-highest yards-per-game average in the league, but that's more a product of running the ball more than 31 times per game.

    The Vikings might not get 30+ rushes Sunday - and even if they do, there's no guarantee they will be able to do anything with them. The Eagles are the class of the league when it comes to run defense, leading the NFL in fewest rushing yards surrendered per game (79.6). And while that was largely due to teams skewing heavily toward the pass, Philadelphia also held opposing rushers to a 3.8 YPC average - sixth-best in the league. A repeat performance would almost certainly put the Eagles in the Super Bowl.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  9. #924
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    NFL
    Dunkel

    Conference Championships


    Sunday, January 21

    Jacksonville @ New England

    Game 311-312
    January 21, 2018 @ 3:05 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Jacksonville
    136.023
    New England
    142.198
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    New England
    by 6
    42
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    New England
    by 9 1/2
    46 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Jacksonville
    (+9 1/2); Under

    Minnesota @ Philadelphia


    Game 313-314
    January 21, 2018 @ 6:40 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Minnesota
    141.567
    Philadelphia
    140.012
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Minnesota
    by 1 1/2
    34
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Minnesota
    by 3 1/2
    38 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Philadelphia
    (+3 1/2); Under





    NFL
    Long Sheet

    Conference Championships


    Sunday, January 21

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

    JACKSONVILLE (12 - 6) at NEW ENGLAND (14 - 3) - 1/21/2018, 3:05 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    NEW ENGLAND is 12-5 ATS (+6.5 Units) in all games this season.
    NEW ENGLAND is 12-5 ATS (+6.5 Units) in all lined games this season.
    NEW ENGLAND is 12-5 ATS (+6.5 Units) as a favorite this season.
    NEW ENGLAND is 14-5 ATS (+8.5 Units) in home games over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 14-5 ATS (+8.5 Units) in home lined games over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 17-6 ATS (+10.4 Units) in all games where the total is between 42.5 and 49 points over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 21-6 ATS (+14.4 Units) against conference opponents over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 18-7 ATS (+10.3 Units) in home games against AFC South division opponents since 1992.
    NEW ENGLAND is 18-7 ATS (+10.3 Units) in games played on turf over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 8-2 ATS (+5.8 Units) after 2 or more consecutive wins this season.
    NEW ENGLAND is 14-3 ATS (+10.7 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 10-1 ATS (+8.9 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
    JACKSONVILLE is 15-6 ATS (+8.4 Units) in road games against conference opponents over the last 3 seasons.

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

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

    MINNESOTA (14 - 3) at PHILADELPHIA (14 - 3) - 1/21/2018, 6:40 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    PHILADELPHIA is 18-7 ATS (+10.3 Units) in games played on a grass field over the last 2 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 34-15 ATS (+17.5 Units) in all games over the last 3 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 34-15 ATS (+17.5 Units) in all lined games over the last 3 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 21-10 ATS (+10.0 Units) as a favorite over the last 3 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 25-10 ATS (+14.0 Units) when playing with 6 or less days rest over the last 3 seasons.
    MINNESOTA is 15-4 ATS (+10.6 Units) after 2 or more consecutive wins over the last 3 seasons.

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

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




    NFL
    Armadillo's Write-Up

    Conference Championships


    tba here....




    NFL

    Conference Championships


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

    Sunday, January 21

    JACKSONVILLE @ NEW ENGLAND
    Jacksonville is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games
    The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Jacksonville's last 6 games when playing on the road against New England
    New England is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games at home
    New England is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home

    MINNESOTA @ PHILADELPHIA
    Minnesota is 12-1 SU in its last 13 games
    Minnesota is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games on the road
    Philadelphia is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games at home
    Philadelphia is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games when playing at home against Minnesota
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  10. #925
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    NFL notebook: Brady receives treatment for hand injury
    January 17, 2018


    It remains to be seen whether New England fans have reason to be concerned, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady missed a scheduled media appearance Wednesday to get treatment for a right hand injury.

    The Boston Herald reported Brady jammed his throwing hand during practice after someone accidentally ran into him. X-rays showed no structural damage.

    Brady's name appeared on the injury report as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice because of the injury.

    Cornerback Jonathan Jones was placed on injured reserve. Jones, who was injured in the fourth quarter of Saturday's win, was the only player on the 53-man roster to miss Wednesday's practice.

    To fill Jones' roster spot, the Patriots signed wide receiver Bernard Reedy.

    --Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell's season is over without stepping on the field.

    Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Mitchell will not be activated off injured reserve. Mitchell has missed the entire season after being placed on IR with a knee injury prior to the opener.

    --The Pittsburgh Steelers have parted ways with offensive coordinator Todd Haley, and he reportedly will be replaced by quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner.

    Haley, whose contract expired at the end of this season, had been the Steelers' offensive coordinator since 2012 and helped Ben Roethlisberger to some of the best seasons of his career.

    Now the Steelers are set to promote Fichtner to offensive coordinator, with final approval of a contract being the only element that remains before Fichtner's hiring becomes official, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    --Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak has turned down a second interview for the head coaching position of the Arizona Cardinals.

    Munchak citing family issues for his decision to remain with the Steelers.

    --The New York Jets will not retain offensive coordinator John Morton, multiple media outlets reported.

    Morton served just one season as the Jets' offensive coordinator, and he called plays for the first time in his career in the 2017 season.

    The Jets finished 28th in the NFL in total yards, 29th in first downs, 24th in scoring, 24th in passing yards and 19th in rushing yards.

    --Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was only a limited participant in practice because of an ankle injury.

    Fournette left Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with an ankle injury, but he returned in the second half.

    On Tuesday, he escaped injury when he was involved in a minor accident shortly before noon in Jacksonville, Fla.

    Also, free safety Tashaun Gipson (foot) did not practice. He started both postseason games, but injured his foot against the Steelers.

    --Two key Minnesota Vikings players -- safety Andrew Sendejo and wide receiver Adam Thielen - were not full participants in practice, but it appears both will be ready for Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

    Vikings coach Mike Zimmer expects Sendejo to play against the host Philadelphia Eagles despite suffering a concussion in the third quarter of Sunday's victory over the New Orleans Saints.

    "He'll be fine," Zimmer said.

    Thielen missed practice with a lower back injury. He watched from the sidelines but said he would be ready for Sunday's game.

    "I'm good," Thielen told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

    --Aside from the absence of quarterback Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles have very few injury issues four days before they host the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game.

    Only two names appeared on the Eagles' injury list. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe did not practice due to a hamstring injury while cornerback Sidney Jones participated fully in practice despite a hamstring problem.

    Ellerbe was a starter in the playoff game against the Falcons.

    --Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals showed their appreciation for Blake Bortles by donating money to his foundation after the quarterback helped the Jacksonville Jaguars upend the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

    Bortles led two crucial fourth-quarter drives to lift the third-seeded Jaguars to a 45-42 win in the AFC divisional-round game over the second-seeded Steelers, who are considered one of the Bengals' chief rivals.

    Per the Blake Bortles Foundation, Bengals fans have donated close to $5,000 since the conclusion of the contest.

    --The Arizona Cardinals will bring back Atlanta Falcons assistant Keith Armstrong for a second interview for their vacant head coaching vacancy, according to a published report.

    Armstrong, the special teams coordinator of the Falcons, will interview with Arizona for a second time on Friday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported.

    The Cardinals reportedly have interviewed nine assistant coaches for the position and, per the Arizona Republic, six are still in the running to succeed Bruce Arians.

    --Wide receiver Jarvis Landry isn't pleased with playing the waiting game while engaging in contract talks with the Miami Dolphins.

    Landry's agent, Damarius Bilbo, told the Miami Herald that the Dolphins made an offer in early December. Landry admitted to being "encouraged" at that time and a counter offer followed in the middle of the month.

    The 25-year-old, however, claims that he has yet to hear from the team as he inches closer to becoming an unrestricted free agent. The Dolphins could place either a franchise tag or a transition tag on Landry prior to March 6.

    --Los Angeles Rams long snapper Jake McQuaide was named to the NFC roster for the upcoming Pro Bowl, the team announced.

    McQuaide will head to his second straight Pro Bowl and join running back Todd Gurley, punter Johnny Hekker and kick returner Pharoh Cooper on the NFC's roster for the Rams.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  11. #926
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    NFL notebook: Brady receives treatment for hand injury
    January 17, 2018


    It remains to be seen whether New England fans have reason to be concerned, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady missed a scheduled media appearance Wednesday to get treatment for a right hand injury.

    The Boston Herald reported Brady jammed his throwing hand during practice after someone accidentally ran into him. X-rays showed no structural damage.

    Brady's name appeared on the injury report as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice because of the injury.

    Cornerback Jonathan Jones was placed on injured reserve. Jones, who was injured in the fourth quarter of Saturday's win, was the only player on the 53-man roster to miss Wednesday's practice.

    To fill Jones' roster spot, the Patriots signed wide receiver Bernard Reedy.

    --Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell's season is over without stepping on the field.

    Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Mitchell will not be activated off injured reserve. Mitchell has missed the entire season after being placed on IR with a knee injury prior to the opener.

    --The Pittsburgh Steelers have parted ways with offensive coordinator Todd Haley, and he reportedly will be replaced by quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner.

    Haley, whose contract expired at the end of this season, had been the Steelers' offensive coordinator since 2012 and helped Ben Roethlisberger to some of the best seasons of his career.

    Now the Steelers are set to promote Fichtner to offensive coordinator, with final approval of a contract being the only element that remains before Fichtner's hiring becomes official, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    --Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak has turned down a second interview for the head coaching position of the Arizona Cardinals.

    Munchak citing family issues for his decision to remain with the Steelers.

    --The New York Jets will not retain offensive coordinator John Morton, multiple media outlets reported.

    Morton served just one season as the Jets' offensive coordinator, and he called plays for the first time in his career in the 2017 season.

    The Jets finished 28th in the NFL in total yards, 29th in first downs, 24th in scoring, 24th in passing yards and 19th in rushing yards.

    --Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was only a limited participant in practice because of an ankle injury.

    Fournette left Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with an ankle injury, but he returned in the second half.

    On Tuesday, he escaped injury when he was involved in a minor accident shortly before noon in Jacksonville, Fla.

    Also, free safety Tashaun Gipson (foot) did not practice. He started both postseason games, but injured his foot against the Steelers.

    --Two key Minnesota Vikings players -- safety Andrew Sendejo and wide receiver Adam Thielen - were not full participants in practice, but it appears both will be ready for Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

    Vikings coach Mike Zimmer expects Sendejo to play against the host Philadelphia Eagles despite suffering a concussion in the third quarter of Sunday's victory over the New Orleans Saints.

    "He'll be fine," Zimmer said.

    Thielen missed practice with a lower back injury. He watched from the sidelines but said he would be ready for Sunday's game.

    "I'm good," Thielen told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

    --Aside from the absence of quarterback Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles have very few injury issues four days before they host the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game.

    Only two names appeared on the Eagles' injury list. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe did not practice due to a hamstring injury while cornerback Sidney Jones participated fully in practice despite a hamstring problem.

    Ellerbe was a starter in the playoff game against the Falcons.

    --Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals showed their appreciation for Blake Bortles by donating money to his foundation after the quarterback helped the Jacksonville Jaguars upend the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

    Bortles led two crucial fourth-quarter drives to lift the third-seeded Jaguars to a 45-42 win in the AFC divisional-round game over the second-seeded Steelers, who are considered one of the Bengals' chief rivals.

    Per the Blake Bortles Foundation, Bengals fans have donated close to $5,000 since the conclusion of the contest.

    --The Arizona Cardinals will bring back Atlanta Falcons assistant Keith Armstrong for a second interview for their vacant head coaching vacancy, according to a published report.

    Armstrong, the special teams coordinator of the Falcons, will interview with Arizona for a second time on Friday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported.

    The Cardinals reportedly have interviewed nine assistant coaches for the position and, per the Arizona Republic, six are still in the running to succeed Bruce Arians.

    --Wide receiver Jarvis Landry isn't pleased with playing the waiting game while engaging in contract talks with the Miami Dolphins.

    Landry's agent, Damarius Bilbo, told the Miami Herald that the Dolphins made an offer in early December. Landry admitted to being "encouraged" at that time and a counter offer followed in the middle of the month.

    The 25-year-old, however, claims that he has yet to hear from the team as he inches closer to becoming an unrestricted free agent. The Dolphins could place either a franchise tag or a transition tag on Landry prior to March 6.

    --Los Angeles Rams long snapper Jake McQuaide was named to the NFC roster for the upcoming Pro Bowl, the team announced.

    McQuaide will head to his second straight Pro Bowl and join running back Todd Gurley, punter Johnny Hekker and kick returner Pharoh Cooper on the NFC's roster for the Rams.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Eagles hope QB Foles can hit big plays vs. Vikings
    January 17, 2018


    PHILADELPHIA -- Nick Foles used his short game to help beat the Atlanta Falcons, 15-10, in the Philadelphia Eagles' divisional-round playoff game last weekend. But he's going to need his driver this week if the Eagles are going to beat the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game and advance to the Super Bowl.

    Foles struggled early against the Falcons and didn't throw a touchdown pass in the game, but completed 23-of 30-passes and averaged 8.2 yards per attempt.

    Foles and the Eagles attacked the Falcons defense with mostly short, quick passes off run-pass options. Just four of his 23 completions came on passes that traveled longer than seven yards in the air. Six were throws behind the line of scrimmage.

    Three of their four scoring drives against the Falcons - three field goals and a 1-yard LeGarrette Blount touchdown run -- were 12 plays or more. But the Vikings' defense is considerably better than the Falcons' defense. They have given up the fewest points in the league. And they have not been susceptible to long, methodical drives.

    "Last week, I think we had three (scoring) drives of over 10 plays," said offensive coordinator Frank Reich. "So that's the challenge going up against one of the better defenses in the league.

    "So I think one thing is we have to scheme and we have to find ways to make a few chunk plays here and there."

    That's not going to be easy. The Vikings have given up just 35 pass plays of 20 yards or more. That's the fewest in the league.

    While Foles has a decent arm, he has completed just 2-of-13 throws of 20-plus yards since replacing injured Carson Wentz in Week 14. Against the Falcons, he had tight end Trey Burton wide open on a 25-yard out route in the first quarter and badly overthrew him.

    "We're going to have to be able to take some shots (downfield)," Foles said. "Against Atlanta, they played a different coverage where they tried to keep everything in front of them.

    "Minnesota is a little bit more diverse in their coverages. They like to switch it up. They do a good job of rockin' and rollin' the safeties. And they play a lot tighter down. They're not going to give us much underneath. So we're absolutely going to have to make some larger completions."

    SERIES HISTORY: 27th all-time meeting. Series tied, 13-13, but the Eagles have won all three postseason meetings, most recently in the 2008 wild-card round, when they beat the Vikings, 26-14, in Minneapolis. The two teams played last season in Philadelphia with the Eagles sacking quarterback Sam Bradford six times and winning 21-10.

    --Foles, who will be the Eagles' starting quarterback in Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Vikings, considered quitting football two years ago. Foles, who put up the third best passer rating in league history with the Eagles in 2013, was traded to the Rams by Chip Kelly after the 2014 season. He started 11 games there in 2015, then was benched. After they drafted Jared Goff in the 2016 draft, he asked for, and was granted, his release. It was at that point that he thought about quitting.

    "You have to know where your heart is," Foles said. "Why you're doing it. I had to take a step back and ask myself, 'Am I doing this for the right reason?' Because if I can't do it with my heart, I can't do it. I'm not going to do something unless my heart's in it."

    Foles had a pending offer from the Chiefs to be Alex Smith's backup. After several long discussions with his wife, Tori, he signed with the Chiefs.

    "It wasn't an easy decision," he said. "It was an emotional decision. I leaned on my wife. I leaned on my faith. I leaned on my family. My heart said go back. At that moment, it was going back to play for Coach (Andy) Reid. And I'm a better person for making that decision. My faith and the way I felt going into that experience (with the Chiefs) allowed me to grow and made me a better player."

    --Eagles second-year left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai will have his work cut out for him Sunday when he goes up against Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. Griffen, who has 43.5 sacks over the last four seasons, including 13 this year, was described earlier this week by Eagles head coach Doug Pederson as a "game-wrecker."

    Vaitai has started 10 games this season in place of injured nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters. Pederson said Wednesday that he will likely give Vaitai help with Griffen.

    "You've got to be smart and you've got to know that at that position, (Griffen) can change the ballgame," he said. "So we're going to be smart and we're going to, he knows that tight ends are going to help over there, backs are going to help over there. We're going to slide protection (to that side). Big V had challenges all season. We've faced some tremendous defensive ends this year. But this definitely will be his greatest challenge."

    --Pederson on being described as an unorthodox play-caller: "I don't think I go in there consciously saying, 'I'm going to be unorthodox.' I think you either have it or you don't. Listen, if you just look at what I've done in two years (as the Eagles' head coach), you'd probably call me unorthodox with some of the decisions I've made on fourth down and going for it and two-point conversions, things like that. I've told you guys this before. Sometimes you just don't do the norm. You don't do what everybody expects you to do. Sometimes that can help you."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Jaguars head coach Marrone 'leaning' on Coughlin this week
    January 17, 2018


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Even though he won't publicly admit to such, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone is likely to be spending extra time with executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin this week.

    The former head coach of both the Jaguars and the New York Giants, Coughlin is one of the few current or former head coaches to own a winning record over New England head coach Bill Belichick. Coughlin teams were 5-2 against Belichick-coached Patriots teams. Included in the five wins were a pair of Giants wins in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI, becoming the 13th coach in NFL history to claim multiple Super Bowl titles.

    Coughlin was brought back to Jacksonville this year to serve in his new administrative position by team owner Shad Khan. During training camp and well into the season, Coughlin was at team practices, observing, taking notes and frequently talking to Marrone. The Jaguars' head coach made it clear that he relied on Coughlin throughout the season in their first year together.

    "I have leaned on Coach pretty good since day one," Marrone said. "I don't think I can lean on him anymore because I'm a big guy. If I lean on him, I hurt him a little (laughs).

    "No but honestly, it's not something that now all of a sudden that they have had success that Coach will get more involved. It's been the same way from day one when we started working together. When you say have you leaned on him, I've leaned on him quite a bit. We've worked with each other quite a bit. We've worked with each other the same amount of time together and talk about the same things."

    Marrone is no stranger to Belichick or the Patriots. He went against them multiple times when he was head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2013-14. He's seen the Patriots' potent passing duo of quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski enough that he'll likely have several sleepless nights leading up to the game. It's not likely that a team can shut down this combination, but rather, they have to try to devise a plan to limit their effectiveness.

    Brady led the NFL this year with 4,577 passing yards and was third with 32 touchdowns and fifth in rating (102.8). He has such an array of receivers to throw to, none better than Gronkowski. It's rare when a tight end can lead a team in pass receiving yards, but that's what Gronkowski did with his 1,084 yards, two yards more than wide receiver Brandin Cooks' total.

    Marrone was asked how a team goes about trying to stop Gronkowski from taking over a game.

    "Hope they do not throw him the football. Hope he drops it. There is no secret formula," Marrone said. "I'd like to watch a game where someone has been able to do it. He is going to make his plays and you hope those plays don't end up killing you. He gets better and better. It becomes tougher and tougher because he's able to do more things. Like I said before, he is a very productive player and he's a good guy."

    The Jaguars will counter the Brady-Gronkowski attack with one of the league's best defenses, including the top-ranked unit when it comes to defending the pass. The Jaguars' defensive front is imposing. They were largely responsible for the Jaguars producing 55 sacks, second highest total in the league. There were 10 players in the NFL this year with at least 12 sacks and the Jaguars had two of them: Calais Campbell (14.5) and Yanick Ngakoue (12.0). Two other players, Malik Jackson and Dante Fowler Jr. had eight sacks each, leaving the Jaguars with a host of players to put pressure on Brady.

    Campbell said it was important to put as much pressure on Brady to take him out of his comfort zone as much as possible.

    "It's tough. You have to try to mix it up but honestly, he's seen it all," Campbell said of the Patriots quarterback. "He has played against this defense a few times so he's familiar with it. It's going to be hard but at the end of the day, we have to keep trying to mix it up. For us to be successful, we have to harass him, make him uncomfortable. Honestly, he is the best player to ever play this game for a reason. But at the end of the day, we have a lot of guys who can make plays, so we have to take advantage of opportunities.

    "He has incredible pocket presence in the way he moves in the pocket. He doesn't just let you come off the edge and sack him. You have to move off a spot. He's incredible with the way his footwork is and keeping his eyes down field. He feels it, he doesn't really see it."

    But it's more than just a solid pass rush that the Jaguars can turn to in hopes of containing Brady. The imposing front is even more intimidating when considering who it is in the secondary covering receivers, tight ends and backs. Two of the NFL's best cornerbacks, Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, lead a secondary that held opposing quarterbacks to the NFL's lowest completion percentage (56.8 percent) and the lowest passer rating (68.5). They also were among the best in the NFL in picking off passes, with their 21 interceptions second only to Baltimore's 22 and the Jaguars' franchise record of 33 takeaways also trailing the Ravens by one for league best. Nobody ranked better than Jacksonville when it came to taking advantage of the turnovers. The Jaguars scored 137 points off their turnovers, 16 more than Baltimore's 121.

    SERIES HISTORY:
    12th all-time meeting. Patriots lead series 10-1. Jaguars have had no success in the regular season against New England, losing all seven meetings. Post-season, Jaguars have one win in four previous playoff games. Last meeting was in the playoffs in 2008, Jacksonville's last playoff game prior to this season. That was at Gillette Stadium on January 12 when the Patriots broke a 14-14 halftime tie with a pair of Tom Brady touchdown passes in the third quarter en route to a 31-20 win in an AFC divisional game. This is the second time the teams have met in the AFC Championship Game. The first was on Jan. 13, 1997 in a game won by the Patriots 20-6 when the Jaguars turned the ball over four times. Jacksonville's only win against New England came on Jan. 3, 1999 when the Jaguars won an AFC wild-card home game 25-10 as Fred Taylor rushed for 162 yards and a touchdown and Mike Hollis kicked four field goals.

    --There likely isn't anyone who predicted a Jaguars 45-42 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday. Most predictions by local and national media had it as a decisive, low-scoring win by the Steelers. The over-under number was 41, a figure that both teams exceeded. But there was one person who not only talked about a Jaguars win but who nailed the correct score as a possibility.

    Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell did an interview with the NFL Network's Tom Pelissero earlier in the week and made reference to 45-42 as a potential final score. "We'll do whatever it takes, we're trying to win whatever way we can, one play at a time and executing and all," Campbell said to Pelissero. "I'll take 2-0 if it comes our way or 45-42 if it comes our way. As long as we win, I'm happy."

    No one gave Campbell's two suggested scores any serious consideration, that is not until the clock hit 0:00 on Sunday. Pittsburgh scored a touchdown with one second left in the game and when they added the extra point, there it was, 45-42, just as Campbell had suggested. He laughed about his prediction afterwards.

    "I tell you, it just means we are on the right track," Campbell said. "God is trying to tell me something. That was crazy."

    The score itself is odd. According to Pro-Football-Reference.com's historical score database, it had only previously happened two other times in NFL history. The Washington Redskins were on the losing end both times. They lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1947 and to the Arizona Cardinals in 1998 by a 45-42 score. Campbell has yet to make a "suggested" final score for Sunday's contest with the Patriots.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  14. #929
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    Vikings Keenum jokes about unlikely QB matchup
    January 17, 2018


    EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Case Keenum strolled to the podium Wednesday afternoon, surveyed the assembled media and congratulated everyone.

    Tongue very much in cheek, of course.

    "I know this is what all of you guys predicted back in the day: a (Nick) Foles vs. Keenum NFC Championship," the Minnesota Vikings quarterback said four days before the Vikings (14-3) travel to Lincoln Financial Field to face the Eagles (14-3). "So good job to all of you guys who predicted that."

    Foles ousted 2016 league MVP Matt Ryan out of the playoffs last Saturday. A day later, Keenum's "Minneapolis Miracle" - a game-winning 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs as time expired - bounced future Hall of Famer Drew Brees out of the playoffs.

    And now, one of these two former teammates on the 2015 St. Louis Rams roster will play in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis on Feb. 4. And that winner very well could end up standing between Tom Brady and his sixth Super Bowl win.

    Keenum was asked to sum up how it feels to be an undrafted underdog reaching the NFC title game against all odds. He wasn't biting. Not while the final chapter to this improbable run has yet to be written.

    "I don't think in terms like that," Keenum said. "Are we proud of what we accomplished? Heck, yes. Do we have more out in front of us? Heck, yes. Just like Coach (Mike Zimmer) said, what matters today is how we work and how we prepare today and getting ready to beat the Eagles."

    And, of course, the game is much more than Keenum vs. Foles. It's about two of the best defenses in the league squaring off in what should be a low-scoring game. The Vikings rank first in yards and points allowed. The Eagles rank fourth in both categories.

    Someday, of course, Foles and Keenum will hang out and reminisce about one of the more unlikely stories in conference title game history.

    "First of all, Nick is a great guy, one of my best friends, a really, really solid guy," Keenum said. "Great faith, great family. He's got a great family. My wife and his wife are great friends. His entire family are good people.

    "Great football player. Prepares well, extremely talented, big arm and he's really, really athletic, too. I know he's got a lot of confidence and I'm looking forward to playing against him."

    Zimmer, meanwhile, was happy to see his team back to work and in its normal routine after the most abnormal win in playoff history.

    "We understand the magnitude of this football game and (the win has been) three days ago, so it's time to get on to Philadelphia and understand the things we have to do," Zimmer said. "I think our players are smart enough to understand what's going on, so I don't see any problem."

    --Defensive end Everson Griffen isn't worried about Lincoln Financial Field's slippery outdoor surface. Or the cold (although the high on Sunday might be 51). Or Philly's notoriously nasty fans.

    "They've got some crazy fans, just like our fans," he said. "They're going to be loud, they're probably going to be saying some harsh words, but that really doesn't matter. How you quiet down the fans is scoring points, stopping the run and making it happen. With the cleat situation, you have to go out there, try the field out, wear seven studs (in your cleats) and see if that will help."

    --It's official, it seems. Fans, media, the team, everybody appears to be calling the end to Sunday's win over the Saints the "Minneapolis Miracle."

    Case Keenum's ridiculously unlikely 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs was the first game-winning touchdown as time expired in the fourth quarter in NFL playoff history.

    For years, Vikings fans have considered the "Miracle at the Met" to be the greatest and most unexpected ending to a game in franchise history.

    It was Week 15 of the 1980 season when Tommy Kramer threw a 46-yard Hail Mary that Ahmad Rashad plucked out of the air one-handed to beat the Browns at old Metropolitan Stadium.

    After Diggs made his catch for the ages on Sunday, Kramer tweeted: "I think I speak on behalf of (Ahmad Rashad) and myself, we will gladly take the number 2 spot."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  15. #930
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    Total Talk - Championships
    January 19, 2018


    Divisional Playoffs Recap

    The ‘over’ produced a 3-1 record in last week’s playoff round and while two of the results were clear-cut winners, the outcomes in the Titans-Patriots and Saints-Vikings certainly helped or hurt bettors with the late scores. Through eight postseason games, we’ve seen a stalemate (4-4) with the total results.

    Championship Game History

    Prior to last year’s outcome between the Patriots and Steelers, the ‘under’ was on a 5-0 run in the AFC title game. This will be the seventh straight appearance in the championship for New England and the defense (15.1 PPG) has had just as much success as the offense (25.1 PPG) during this run.

    AFC CHAMPIONSHIP TOTAL HISTORY (2007-2016)

    Year Result Total
    2016-2017 New England 36 vs. Pittsburgh 17 49.5, Over
    2015-2016 Denver 20 vs. New England 18 45, Under
    2014-2015 New England 45 vs. Indianapolis 7 52.5, Under
    2013-2014 Denver 26 vs. New England 16 57, Under
    2012-2013 Baltimore 28 at New England 13 49.5, Under
    2011-2012 New England 23 vs. Baltimore 20 49, Under
    2010-2011 Pittsburgh 24 vs. N.Y. Jets 19 38, Over
    2009-2010 Indianapolis 30 vs. N.Y. Jets 17 40, Over
    2008-2009 Pittsburgh 23 vs. Baltimore 14 35, Over
    2007-2008 New England 21 vs. San Diego 12 48, Under

    The NFC Championship has watched the ‘over’ go 7-3 the last 10 years. Minnesota and Philadelphia both contributed to the high side while scoring 28 and 25 points in the 2008 and 2009 title games respectively.

    NFC CHAMPIONSHIP TOTAL HISTORY (2007-2016)

    Year Result Total
    2016-2017 Atlanta 44 vs. Green Bay 21 61, Over
    2015-2016 Carolina 49 vs. Arizona 15 47.5, Over
    2014-2015 Seattle 28 vs. Green Bay 22 (OT) 47, Over
    2013-2014 Seattle 23 vs. San Francisco 17 40.5, Under
    2012-2013 San Francisco 28 at Atlanta 24 48, Over
    2011-2012 New York 20 at San Francisco 17 (OT) 42, Under
    2010-2011 Green Bay 21 at Chicago 14 42, Under
    2009-2010 New Orleans 31 vs. Minnesota 28 (OT) 54, Over
    2008-2009 Arizona 32 vs. Philadelphia 25 47, Over
    2007-2008 N.Y. Giants 23 at Green Bay 20 41, Over

    Even though I took it on the chin not once but twice last weekend with the aforementioned late touchdowns, I'm not going away and neither are my fearless predictions. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

    AFC Championship - Jacksonville at New England (CBS, 3:05 p.m. ET)

    Of the two matchups set for Sunday, this game has received much more attention and moves according to Scott Cooley of BookMaker.eu.

    He said, “We've pulled the Jags-Pats game off the board on Friday in light of the Brady injury. He's going to play, but I think we'll see this total, which has bounced around all week, fall even further. If the plan is to protect Brady, we could see more of the run game as well as short passes that serve as an extension of the run game, which could lend to fewer scores.”

    Reports have said that New England quarterback Tom Brady bruised his throwing hand in practice this week and as expected, the answers from the Patriots have been vague. I’m not putting much stock into the injury and I would treat the total with a healthy Brady. As of Friday evening, the number had dropped to as low as 44 with the injury news picking up steam but most shops are holding 45.

    After winning a 10-3 slugfest at home versus Buffalo in the Wild Card round, Jacksonville outlasted Pittsburgh in the Divisional Playoffs with an unexpected 45-42 road win. Including those results, the Jaguars have seen their total numbers break even (9-9) in their 18 games played this season.

    While scoring 45 was a big surprise for the Jaguars, allowing 42 was definitely shocking considering the club is ranked third in both total defense (299.2 YPG) and scoring defense (17.4 PPG).

    While it’s understood that Brady and the New England offense receive all the attention, you better be aware that the Patriots defense has only allowed 14 points per game since Week 5. In last week’s Divisional Playoff game, they dominated Tennessee 35-14 while holding them to 267 yards, which included just 65 rushing yards. Not to mention they rang up eight sacks on a quarterback in Marcus Mariota that’s known for his mobility.

    Last week’s game went ‘over’ with the Titans scoring a meaningless late touchdown. Including that result, the ‘under’ has still gone 10-3 in New England’s last 13 games.

    It’s hard to imagine Jacksonville scoring in the forties again on Sunday but the result at Pittsburgh was the third time they did so this season. And in the first two instances, they came back with 20 and 33 points in the following contests which resulted in ‘over’ tickets and losses.

    One of the setbacks came at San Francisco in Week 16, a 44-33 decision where former Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo (21-of-30, 242 yard, 2 TDs) had success against the Jaguars defense. Jimmy G also diced up Jacksonville in the preseason (22-of-28 yards, 235 yards and 2 TDs) and while it was an exhibition, you’d expect New England's film study to isolate those games.

    As mentioned above, this will be the seventh straight title game for New England and the ‘under’ has gone 5-1 in the previous six with an average combined score of 44.8 PPG.

    The Patriots and Jaguars have met five times with Brady under center and New England has gone 7-0 in those games. The ‘under’ has gone 4-3 even though the Patriots averaged 27.4 PPG.

    Jacksonville owns a 7-6 all-time record in the playoffs and the ‘over’ has gone 8-5 in those games. Four of those losses came against New England and the ‘under’ went 3-1 in their meetings.

    Fearless Prediction: Even before the hand issue with Brady, I thought the Patriots would try to run the ball on Jacksonville knowing the unit is ranked 22nd in rushing yards allowed (115.2). If you can run on the Jaguars, you can win the game and that was evident in their four road losses this season as they surrendered an eye-opening 152.8 YPG. While you may not be aware, the Patriots were ranked sixth in rushing attempts (31.4) at home this season and they were ninth overall in rushing yards per game (117.1). I don’t think it’s going to be a walk in the park for New England and Jacksonville’s defense has responded big after poor outings and last week’s effort against the Steelers was far from great. Including the result at Pittsburgh last Sunday, the Jaguars allowed seven teams to score 20-plus points on them this season. In the following game, the unit held teams to an average of 8 PPG. I’m leaning to the ‘under’ (45) in the game and also the Jaguars Team Total Under (19 ) and Patriots Team Total Under (26 ) as well.

    NFC Championship – Minnesota at Philadelphia (FOX, 6:40 p.m. ET)

    This total opened as low as 38 and as high as 40 last Sunday and was holding steady at 39 for the most part of this week. Heading into the weekend, most shops are back down to 38 .

    Cooley offered his thoughts on the move at BookMaker.eu and what he expects before the late game kicks. He said, “We've seen this total slowly creep up throughout the week and it finally hit 39 on Thursday afternoon. It's obvious that this is a very low total, and most bettors are hard-pressed to take an under even if they think it will be a low-scoring game. I could see this inching toward 40 as we get closer to kickoff, but very doubtful it will surpass that.”

    It’s hard not to expect a slugfest when you look at the defensive stats for both squads.

    Minnesota is ranked first in both scoring (15.8 PPG) and total defense (275.9 YPG). Plus they own the best third-down conversion defense (25%) in the league and that mark is near the best of all-time in the NFL.

    The Eagles aren’t far behind with a 32 percent conversion rate on third downs, plus they are ranked fourth in both scoring (18.4 PPG) and total defense (306.5 YPG).

    Philadelphia has a slight edge in sacks (38-37) but the big advantage for its defense is the takeaways. The Birds have registered 31 this season (19 INTs) while Minnesota has only been able to produce 19 turnovers.

    Another big factor that should help the Eagles on Sunday is Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia led the league in scoring defense (13 PPG) at home and that number includes last Saturday’s 15-10 win over Atlanta in the Divisional Playoff round. Since head coach Doug Pederson took over the duties in Philadelphia in 2016, the Eagles have gone 14-3 at home while only allowing 14.1 PPG. Jim Schwartz didn't have a lot of success as head coach in five seasons (29-51) with the Detroit Lions but he's an incredible defensive coordinator.

    Not surprisingly, the ‘under’ has gone 12-5 in these games and the low side has cashed in the last four played at the “Linc.”

    One of those outcomes came against Minnesota as the Eagles earned a 21-10 win, coincidentally as a three-point home underdog. The QB for the Vikings that day was Sam Bradford, who had a cup of coffee with Philadelphia in the 2015 season before he was traded to Minnesota the following year due to the Teddy Bridgewater injury.

    The Vikings have seen the ‘under’ go 9-8 this season and that includes last week’s wild ‘over’ (47) ticket in their 29-24 win against New Orleans at home in the Divisional matchup. On the road, the Vikings produced a 4-4 stalemate with their totals but the ‘under’ was 2-1 in away games when they matched up against playoff teams (Steelers, Falcons, Panthers).

    The Eagles haven’t had a total posted in the thirties this season and the lowest number they’ve seen was 41 three times. Meanwhile, the Vikings have had three totals close below 40 and the ‘over’ went 2-1 in those games as they averaged 26.3 PPG albeit against non-playoff teams.

    Fearless Prediction: Even though both squads boast impressive defensive numbers, I believe we’ll see points scored in this game. It’s understandable that Eagles QB Nick Foles hasn’t looked sharp and he’s a major drop-off from Carson Wentz. However, the offense did put up 334 total yards last Saturday on a solid Falcons defense and they lost the turnover battle (2-0) as well. At home, Philadelphia has totaled at least four scores in every meaningful game (toss out Week 17) plus they have a very opportunistic defense that posted six touchdowns this season. I’m actually not as sold on Minnesota’s attack, who’s been gifted a lot of yardage with penalties. I try not to put too much stock into historical numbers but Philadelphia captured 26-14 and 27-14 victories in its last two postseason meetings versus Minnesota and I could see a similar score in this game. Play the game ‘over’ (39) and the Eagles Team Total Over (17 ) as well.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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