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Thread: NFL Trends and Indexes - Super Bowl (Sun., Feb. 4)

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    Default NFL Trends and Indexes - Super Bowl (Sun., Feb. 4)




    NFL Trends and Indexes

    Sunday, February 4

    Additional trends and information will be added as available.

    NOTE:
    As information becomes available, we will attempt to post the trends and indexes as soon as possible.
    Information is posted from what we believe are reliable sources.
    Any opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the posting member or BettorsChat.


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    New England Patriots open as 5.5-point Super Bowl LII favorites over Philadelphia Eagles
    Patrick Everson

    For a while on Sunday, it looked like the Super Bowl might see fresh blood from both conferences. But at least there’s still one relative newcomer for the Feb. 4 showdown in Minneapolis. Patrick Everson checks in on the opening line and early action, with insights from Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports for MGM Resorts in Las Vegas, and Scott Cooley, odds consultant for offshore sportsbook BetDSI.com.

    Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots (-5.5)

    Defending Super Bowl champion New England was on the ropes throughout much of Sunday’s AFC championship game, but Tom Brady and Co. got off the mat just in time for a return trip to the big game. The Patriots (15-3 SU, 12-6 ATS) scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns – the last 14 points of the game – to squeeze out a 24-20 victory as a 7.5-point home favorite. Brady hit Danny Amendola for both scores, the second with just 2:48 remaining to account for the final margin.

    However, that comeback came at a cost for No. 1 seed New England, with stud tight end Rob Gronkowski sidelined during the game and now under concussion protocol.

    Top-seeded Philadelphia reached the Super Bowl in very different fashion, most notably without star QB Carson Wentz, who tore an ACL in a Week 14 road win over the Los Angeles Rams. The Eagles (15-3 SU, 12-6 ATS) beat Atlanta as a home underdog in the divisional round, then had the same role for Sunday’s NFC final, in which they boatraced Minnesota 38-7 as a 3-point pup.

    “We’re gonna go Patriots -5.5,” Rood said of MGM’s opening number. “Basically, you like to have it on the hook, because you don’t want your biggest decision of the football year to be a push. Also, based off the performance of the Eagles and the uncertainty of Gronk, I think just shy of 6 is the place to be.”

    BetDSI opened a tick higher at Patriots -6 and dropped to -5 in short order Sunday night before ticking back up to -5.5. (For reviews of online sportsbooks visit OddsShark.com)

    “This feels a lot like those Patriots-Giants Super Bowls, where we saw the upset in each,” Cooley said. “I think we'll see a lot of underdog bettors during the next two weeks. We didn't want to undersell what the Patriots bring to the table, but we might have opened this number a bit high. Early action steamed in on Philadelphia, which moved the spread down to -5.

    “We did attract some chalk money at that point and bumped the number to -5.5.”

    Cooley said BetDSI also saw some early sharp money on the over, taking the total from 47.5 to 48.5, before it nosed back to 48. At MGM books, including Rood’s home base at The Mirage on the Vegas Strip, the total opened at 47.5 and was unchanged late Sunday night.

    On the moneyline, MGM opened the Patriots -220 and moved to -225, with the buyback on the Eagles going from +180 to +185.

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    NFL
    Dunkel

    Super Bowl


    Sunday, February 4

    Philadelphia @ New England

    Game 101-102
    February 4, 2018 @ 6:30 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Philadelphia
    137.026
    New England
    146.612
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    New England
    by 9 1/2
    44
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    New England
    by 5 1/2
    48 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    New England
    (-5 1/2); Under





    NFL
    Long Sheet

    Super Bowl


    Sunday, February 4

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    PHILADELPHIA (15 - 3) vs. NEW ENGLAND (15 - 3) - 2/4/2018, 6:30 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    NEW ENGLAND is 28-9 ATS (+18.1 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 28-9 ATS (+18.1 Units) in all lined games over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 27-9 ATS (+17.1 Units) as a favorite over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 17-7 ATS (+9.3 Units) in all games where the total is between 42.5 and 49 points over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 18-8 ATS (+9.2 Units) in games played on turf over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 19-5 ATS (+13.5 Units) after 2 or more consecutive wins over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 14-4 ATS (+9.6 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.
    NEW ENGLAND is 10-2 ATS (+7.8 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
    PHILADELPHIA is 1-0 against the spread versus NEW ENGLAND over the last 3 seasons
    PHILADELPHIA is 1-0 straight up against NEW ENGLAND over the last 3 seasons
    1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

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    NFL
    Armadillo's Write-Up

    Super Bowl


    Here are my random thoughts on Sunday’s Super Bowl:

    — Here are the scores of the six Super Bowls with Brady/Belichick in them:
    SB36— NE 20, Rams 17
    SB38— NE 27, Carolina 24
    SB39— NE 24, Philadelphia 21
    SB42— Giants 17, NE 14
    SB46— Giants 21, NE 17
    SB49— NE 28, Seattle 24
    SB51- NE 34, Atlanta 28 OT— Notice a pattern? All decided by 6 or less points.

    — Doug Pedersen is in his 2nd year as a head coach; Belichick has won five Super Bowls.
    — NFC was 41-23 against the AFC this year; Patriots were 3-1 against the NFC.
    — Eagles won their last game against the Patriots, 35-28 in Foxboro in 2015.
    — Philly pounded the Vikings last week, now visits Minnesota; it could be awkward.

    — Underdogs are 11-5 vs spread in last 16 Super Bowls
    — Belichick is 5-2 in Super Bowls, all of which were decided by six or less points.
    — Eagles are 0-2 in Super Bowls, with last one a loss to New England 13 years ago.
    — New England covered 10 of its last 12 games overall.

    — Domed stadium; weather won’t be an issue.
    — Weird stat: In Belichick’s seven Super Bowls, Patriots are scoreless in first quarter.
    — Unsure if it matters, but LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long played for New England LY.
    — If anything happens to Foles, Eagles’ backup QB Sudfeld is a total unknown; he was 19-23 passing for 134 yards in very limited action. He started for three years at Indiana.

    — Both New England coordinators are off to head coaching jobs after this game.
    — Eagles are 4-2 vs spread as an underdog this year; this is 4th game in row they’re the underdog, because of Wentz being hurt.
    — Since 2010, NFL head coaches are 3-26 in their first game against Belichick.

    Bottom line for me is that a lot of people are jumping on the Eagles’ bandwagon, but this is a backup QB against the best QB/coach combo of all-time. I’ll say New England, 27-16.




    NFL

    Super Bowl


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    Trend Report
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    Sunday, February 4

    PHILADELPHIA @ NEW ENGLAND
    Philadelphia is 14-2 SU in its last 16 games
    Philadelphia is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games on the road
    New England is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
    New England is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home


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    Last edited by Udog; 01-29-2018 at 11:56 AM.

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    Rob Gronkowski's concussion injury impacting early Super Bowl wagering
    Patrick Everson

    We’re just a few days into Super Bowl betting, but some trends are already starting to unfold. Everson checks in on the action and line movement for the big game on Feb. 4, with insights from Tony Miller, sportsbook director at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas, and with the lines manager for offshore sportsbook GTBets.eu.

    Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots – Open: -6; Move: -5.5; Move: -5

    New England is certainly in a familiar spot, once again playing in the final game of the year, but it took a big comeback to get there. The Patriots (15-3 SU, 12-6 ATS) needed most of Sunday’s AFC championship game to climb out of a 14-3 hole against Jacksonville, ultimately escaping with a 24-20 home victory as a 7.5-point home chalk.

    The Pats also lost tight end Rob Gronkowski during the game, and he’s currently in concussion protocol.

    Philadelphia (15-3 SU, 12-6 ATS) had struggled a lot in the scoring department since Nick Foles stepped in for the injured Carson Wentz at quarterback. But those struggles went away in Sunday’s NFC title tilt, with the Eagles running away from Minnesota 38-7 as a 3-point home underdog.

    With Gronkowski’s status uncertain and Philly coming off an impressive performance, betting is lopsided at Miller’s shop on Fremont Street.

    “Right away, in the first minute we had the game up, I took a $10,000 moneyline bet on the Eagles,” Miller said, noting the moneyline opened Patriots -250/Eagles +200. “So we dropped the moneyline to -240/+190 and the pointspread from 6 to 5.5. We didn’t really get any money at +6, but we got a lot at +5.5 the last few days. Then we went to 5, and they’re still taking +5.”

    Miller said the moneyline is now at New England -200/Philadelphia +170, and bettors continue to hit the Eagles.

    “All the sentimental bets are on the Eagles, on the pointspread and moneyline. People are just kind of burned out on the Patriots,” Miller said. “The sharp money is lurking, waiting to see how low this drops. It’ll go back up next week, when the bulk of the money starts to show up.”

    And of course, providing Gronk is cleared, that will take the line north as well.

    Meanwhile, at GTBets.eu, the Patriots opened -5.5 and dipped to 5. (For reviews of online sportsbooks visit OddsShark.com)

    “So far, 60 percent of side bets are on New England, which is less than expected and also why the line has dropped to 5,” GTBets’ lines manager said. “The total has barely budged, going from 47.5 to 48, and 70 percent of the action is on the over at this point. With the reasonable amount of action on the Eagles, I would expect the line to drop to 4.5, and the total to increase possibly another point to 49.”

    The Golden Nugget was also at 48 on the total and a little heavy to the under, but that’s of little concern to Miller at this point.

    “They’ll eventually pound the over,” he said. “So I’m not worried about that at all.”
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 01-29-2018 at 02:54 AM.

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    NFL Pro Bowl betting preview and odds: NFC vs AFC


    The NFC will be looking for revenge after dropping a 20-13 decision last year, which was the lowest-scoring Pro Bowl since 1999, and might suggest that the days of 90-point game totals are long gone.

    National Football Conference vs American Football Conference (+3, 70.5)

    The best players not taking part in this year's Super Bowl - or most of them, at least - will converge on Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., this Sunday as the AFC and NFC do battle in the latest edition of the Pro Bowl. This series couldn't get much more even, with each conference having won 22 times in the series (not including three un-conferenced bowls that took place from 2015-17). The NFC will be looking for revenge after dropping a 20-13 decision in last year's event; it was the lowest-scoring Pro Bowl since 1999, and might suggest that the days of 90-point game totals are long gone.

    It will be a small consolation, but the Pittsburgh Steelers dominate the AFC roster with eight Pro Bowl participants, including six on offense. That list includes two names you might recognize - receiving superstar Antonio Brown and elite running back Le'Veon Bell. And as always, injury replacements are the story heading into this one; among the notable substitutions, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff will participate in place of injured Eagles QB Carson Wentz, while Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph will take the field in place of Seattle Seahawks veteran Jimmy Graham.

    TV:
    3 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC

    LINE HISTORY:
    The NFC opened as three-point favorites over their rivals from the AFC and the total hit betting boards at a surprisingly low 70.5.

    WEATHER REPORT:
    It could be a wet day at Camping World Stadium, with an 60 percent chance of rain and temperatures reaching the high-70s by kickoff. Wind will blow toward the north at 13 mph.

    ABOUT THE AFC:
    Look for this team to throw the ball a ton, with Steelers legend Ben Roethlisberger joined by Chargers gunslinger Philip Rivers and Oakland QB Derek Carr. And boy, will those three guys love who they have lining up at receiver, with Brown joined by Houston Texans superstar DeAndre Hopkins, Indianapolis Colts sparkplug T.Y. Hilton, Miami Dolphins veteran Jarvis Landry and Chargers stud Keenan Allen. The team is even deeper at running back, with Bell sharing carries with Kansas City Chiefs rookie standout Kareem Hunt and Buffalo Bills superstar LeSean McCoy.

    ABOUT THE NFC:
    Drew Brees makes his 11th career Pro Bowl appearance - both a testament to his sustained greatness, and an indictment of the Saints not getting to the Super Bowl more often. He'll be joined under center by Goff and Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson. It's an eclectic mix at wideout for the NFC, as out-of-nowhere sensation Adam Thielen of the Minnesota Vikings is joined by second-year stud Michael Thomas of the Saints, Davante Adams of the Packers and legendary Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals. And at running back, it doesn't get much better than the trio of Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.

    TRENDS:


    * The NFC is 7-4 ATS in the past 11 AFC-NFC Pro Bowls.
    * The AFC and NFC had played to the over in four straight meetings and five of the last six prior to last year's result, which went a whopping 47 points below the total of 80.
    * The underdog is 3-1 ATS in the past five AFC-NFC encounters; the 2011 edition was a pick 'em.
    * Pro Bowl-winning teams have scored fewer than 30 points just three times in the past 15 years.

    CONSENSUS:
    Early consensus returns are showing the public siding with the favorite NFC at a rate of 55 percent and 77 percent of early totals wagers are on the Over.

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    One week out from Super Bowl LII, it's all Eagles action so far
    Patrick Everson

    Super Bowl LII has been bet into for almost a week now, and yet the line still hasn’t stabilized, continuing to trend downward at several shops. Patrick Everson checks in on the action and line movement, with insights from Johnny Avello, executive director of race and sports at Wynn Las Vegas, and Scott Kaminsky, director of offshore sportsbook TheGreek.com.

    Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots – Open: -6.5; Move: -6: Move: -5.5; Move: -5; Move: -4.5

    New England has the extensive Super Bowl resume, complete with an overflowing trophy case. But the Patriots’ performance in the AFC title game and the uncertain status of Rob Gronkowski aren’t an attractive combination to bettors. New England (15-3 SU, 12-6 ATS) rallied to beat Jacksonville 24-20 as a 7.5-point home favorite.

    Meanwhile, bettors can’t seem to help themselves to enough of Philadelphia after its blowout victory in the NFC final. The Eagles (15-3 SU, 12-6 ATS) hammered Minnesota 38-7 as a 3-point home underdog, making believers of customers at Nevada and offshore books.

    “It’s been all Eagles up to this point,” Avello said of action at the Wynn, which on Friday night dropped the Patriots from -5 to -4.5. “They even took 4.5 last night for a good amount. Normally, I’d be at 4, if the game was this Sunday. But since we’ve got a whole week to go, I’m gonna wait and see if we get some takers on the Patriots.”

    Like many other shops, the Wynn is seeing plenty of Philly action on the moneyline, which opened New England -230/Philadelphia +195. Those numbers have dipped to -180/+160. Avello says there’s an X-factor to turning around the current betting trends – Gronkowski’s status.

    “If Gronkowski gets announced that he’s playing, which I think is gonna happen, that’ll maybe stabilize the line or even push it up a little bit,” he said.

    TheGreek.com opened New England -5.5, dipped to -5 on Wednesday, then hit -4.5 (-115) on Saturday.

    “We’ve accumulated ‘dog money along the way,” Kaminsky said, while noting action has slowed a bit in the calm before the storm. “The sharps are probably done for now. We’re not seeing much action and probably won’t until next weekend.”

    Wynn Las Vegas opened the total at 47, and after a quick burst to 48, that number hasn’t moved since late last Sunday.

    “The total is kind of a dead issue. It won’t be as we get closer to the game, but as of now, it’s drawing the least interest of all the options, including the props,” Avello said.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 02-01-2018 at 12:32 PM.

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    Patriots aren't much for blowouts when it comes to the Big Game
    Joe Fortenbaugh

    By our current count, at least three wagers of $500,000 or more have already been placed in Las Vegas for next Sunday’s Super Bowl LII showdown between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

    Those wagers will be discussed in more detail below, but for now, all you need to know is that each bet was placed on Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles, which is one of the primary reasons as to why the opening pointspread of Patriots -5.5 has already been adjusted to as low as Patriots -4.

    But perhaps more important than why the pointspread is moving is the why behind the decision to support the Eagles. Granted, the rationale supporting such a wager is multi-faceted, but at least one of those factors pertains to the following information:

    Tom Brady + Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl =

    [2002] New England (+14/53) vs. St. Louis: Patriots 20, Rams 17
    [2003] New England (-7/38) vs. Carolina: Patriots 32, Panthers 29
    [2004] New England (-7/47) vs. Philadelphia: Patriots 24, Eagles 21
    [2008] New England (-12.5/54.5) vs. New York: Giants 17, Patriots 14
    [2012] New England (-3/53) vs. New York: Giants 21, Patriots 17
    [2015] New England (-1/47) vs. Seattle: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
    [2017] New England (-3/57) vs. Atlanta: Patriots 34, Falcons 28 (OT)

    Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota will mark the eighth time in which a Super Bowl featured Bill Belichick as the head coach of the Patriots and Tom Brady as the quarterback of the Patriots. But here’s where things get interesting: in those previous seven Super Bowl appearances, the average margin of victory was just 3.7 points, with only one game being decided by more than four points.

    That one game in question was last year’s 34-28 overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons.

    Four games decided by three points, two matchups determined by four points and one overtime thriller that landed on six points.

    Brady + Belichick may be the NFL’s ultimate dynasty, but the Hall of Fame tandem doesn’t annihilate the opposition when the Vince Lombardi Trophy is on the line. Further, the Brady + Belichick duo is a lifetime 5-2 straight up and 3-4 against the spread in the Super Bowl, with the Under cashing in four of those seven showdowns.

    While it’s certainly not the primary reason as to why we’ve seen so much Eagles money show up in Vegas through the first week of Super Bowl wagering, Brady and Belichick’s Super Bowl history has no doubt played at least a small role in the movement from Patriots -5.5 to Patriots -4.

    Now comes the fun part: will big-time Patriots money begin to show in Vegas between now and kickoff, or will the Philly cash continue to pour in during this season’s final week of professional football wagering?

    With 20 weeks in the books

    Home teams ATS: 133-125-8
    Favorites ATS: 133-122-8
    Home underdogs ATS: 48-50-4
    Over/Under: 124-142

    Trend of the Week

    In the National Football League’s previous 51 Super Bowls, the team that won the game just so happened to also cover the pointspread 43 times.

    Please allow me to repeat myself: the straight-up winner of the Super Bowl is 43-6-2 ATS.

    So, who do you guys have winning on Sunday?

    Super Bowl action report

    Most outlets, both in Vegas and offshore, opened with the Patriots as a 5.5-point favorite with a total of 47.5 points. After one week of wagering, we now see New England as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 48.

    As of Sunday morning, approximately 58 percent of the tickets written were in support of Philadelphia, while 62 percent of the tickets written on the total were backing the Over.

    In regards to the move from New England -5.5 to New England -4, here’s what we know:

    1. Early this past week, MGM vice president of race and sports Jay Rood told our friend Gill Alexander that his property took a “multi-million-dollar bet” on the Philadelphia Eagles. Rood declined to name the bettor or share whether it was a moneyline bet on the Eagles or a wager on the Eagles plus the points, but Rood did move his line from Patriots -5.5 to Patriots -4.5 immediately after booking said wager.

    2. South Point director of race and sports Chris Andrews told us on Episode 70 of The Sharp 600 that he booked a $500,000 moneyline wager on the Philadelphia Eagles this past week.

    3. Matthew Holt, the COO at CG Analytics and vice president of business development for CG Technology, tweeted Friday, “We took a 700K bet on Eagles moneyline today and now have well into seven-figure liability on Eagles moneyline as of now.”

    At the moment, it appears as if we’re all waiting to see whether or not a significant amount of New England money shows up at the books.

    Muffed Punt Picks: Super Bowl, Part I

    Season: 24-37-2
    Last week: 0-2


    While my official Super Bowl side, total and prop selections will be released in next week’s edition of “The Muffed Punt,” here is an early nugget I have been studying:

    First quarter UNDER: In seven Super Bowl appearances together, the Tom Brady + Bill Belichick connection has combined to score a grand total of ZERO points during the first quarter.

    Yup, Brady and Belichick have been held scoreless during the first quarter in every single Super Bowl they have appeared in together. Further, in those aforementioned seven Super Bowls, a grand total of just 15 points has been scored during the first quarter.

    Quote of the Week

    “That’s the biggest gap in sports, the difference between the winner and the loser of the Super Bowl.” -- John Madden
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 02-01-2018 at 12:33 PM.

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    Super Bowl LII's biggest betting mismatches: Eagles vs. Patriots
    Monty Andrews

    Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots (-4.5, 48)

    It's the biggest game of the NFL season, as the New England Patriots seek their second straight title - and sixth all-time - against a Philadelphia Eagles team that is looking for its first Super Bowl championship. The Patriots come into this year's title contest at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as modest favorites, thanks to a Tom Brady-led offense that led the league in total offense. The Eagles will look to quash New England's quest at a repeat with a defense that allowed the fourth-fewest yards in the NFL.

    Eagles' solid rush attack vs. Patriots' run D problems

    There weren't many things the Eagles didn't do well this season, thriving on a dynamic offense led by quarterback Carson Wentz and making opposing teams suffer thanks to a relentless defense. And that's not all; the Eagles were one of the top rushing teams in the league, especially after acquiring Jay Ajayi in a mid-season trade with the Miami Dolphins. And in what is expected to be a highly competitive game, Philadelphia should be able to exploit a New England rush attack that has struggled to keep teams at bay.

    The Eagles' running game didn't generate much buzz throughout the season, mostly because Wentz was so spectacular prior to his season-ending knee injury. But Philadelphia might not be where it is without the success of its rush attack, which produced the third-most yards during the regular season (2,115). And while the Eagles struggled with fumbles - committing 11 during the regular season and another three in the playoffs - this is a run game that can move the football against just about any team in the league.

    That doesn't bode well at all for a Patriots defense that held opponents to the fourth-lowest run rate in the league (38.0 percent), but allowed opposing rushers to gain a whopping 4.6 yards per carry; only the Los Angeles Chargers were more generous (4.9 YPC). And while New England limited Jacksonville to 101 yards on 32 carries in the AFC Championship, things might be different on a neutral field against an Eagles team whose 4.3 YPC average during the season ranked seventh in the NFL.

    Eagles' interception immunity vs. Patriots' secondary struggles

    The loss of Wentz - to an injury revealed last week to be even more severe than first thought - was supposed to be the end of the Eagles' title chances. But Nick Foles has emerged as more than capable of spearheading the Philadelphia offense. While he lacks the explosiveness of his young predecessor, Foles has done a magnificent job taking care of the football - and in that regard, the Eagles as a whole have a significant advantage over a Patriots team that didn't produce many turnovers on passing downs.

    While Philadelphia boasted one of the lowest passing rates in football during the regular season (55.2 percent), it still led the NFL in passing touchdowns (38) and finished just outside the top 10 in yards per game through the air (240.1). Wentz, Foles and Nate Sudfeld also combined to throw just nine interceptions, sixth-fewest in the league. Foles was at his tactical best last time out, throwing three touchdowns with zero interceptions in last week's NFC Championship rout of the Minnesota Vikings.

    Teams threw the ball more than 62 percent of the time against the Patriots, but the New England secondary didn't turn many of those passes into interceptions. The Patriots finished the regular season with 12 INTs - tied with Tennessee for 18th overall - and are the only one of the final four playoff teams without an interception in the postseason; Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Minnesota all have at least two. Look for Philadelphia to use a measured passing game to keep the football out of the hands of the Pats' defense.

    Eagles' discipline issues vs. Patriots' paucity of penalties

    You might see the first two items on the list and wonder why the Eagles aren't favored. Well, Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense has a lot to do with that - and there are other factors, as well. Oddsmakers aren't convinced that Foles can outduel his New England counterpart, while the Patriots' extensive playoff experience also comes into play. And if Philadelphia can't show more discipline than it did during the regular season, New England will own the kind of penalty advantage that could decide this one.

    While it didn't cost them anything in the overall standings, the Eagles were one of the most penalized teams in the NFL in 2017, picking up the fifth-most accepted flags (124) while accruing the eighth-most accepted penalty yards (1,041). Not surprisingly, that resulted in the Eagles finishing fourth from the bottom in total penalty flag differential (minus-17), ahead of only the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos - three teams that missed the postseason completely.

    As you might have expected, the Patriots were once again one of the most disciplined teams in the NFL this past season. New England finished its 16-game campaign with exactly 100 accepted flags - eighth-fewest in the league - and its 882 accepted penalty yards also ranked eighth. And the Patriots were even better when it came to drawing flags, finishing with the league's greatest penalty yard differential (plus-313) and the second-best flag differential (plus-27).
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 02-01-2018 at 12:34 PM.

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    Is the early money on the right side when it comes to cashing in on Super Bowl betting?
    Ashton Grewal

    The Super Bowl is just days away and if you haven’t been paying attention to the reports as to where the money is being bet on the game here’s a quick update: Eagles early and often.

    The advanced line before the AFC and NFC championship games forecasted the New England Patriots would be 7-point favorites if they were pitted against Philadelphia in the Super Bowl. Following the Eagles’ destruction of the Minnesota Vikings, the books elected to play it safe and opened with a shorter spread for the Big Game.

    But opening with the Pats giving 5.5 wasn’t good enough. The flood of Eagles support has brought the spread down to as low four and some oddsmakers are predicting it could drop to 3.5 soon if the money backing the Patriots doesn’t show up soon.

    The situation has a bit of a déjà vu to it because 10 years ago, Las Vegas and offshore sportsbooks took one of their biggest losses in Super Bowl history when the New York Giants won outright as double-digit underdogs against 18-0 New England Patriots.

    “Overall the Super Bowl was a disaster,” Jay Kornegay, then Executive Director Race & Sportsbook at the Las Vegas Hilton (now Westgate), told us at the time.

    “We couldn’t stop the Giant moneyline bets from coming in and it was the worst result ever for us. Most books put themselves into a comfortable position by just needing the Patriots to win the game. Since that didn’t happen and the game when Under, worst case scenario. Most supporters for the Giants also bet the Under and, or, parlayed the two.”

    These two scenarios are both extreme cases but it got us wondering: is the early - often sharp - money normally on the right side of the outcome?

    Here is a look back at the last 10 years of Super Bowl betting, where the early money went and whether it was on the right side or not of the outcome.

    Super Bowl XLII

    Patriots vs. Giants

    Opening spread: Pats -13
    Closing spread: Pats -11.5

    It was mentioned above already but the sharps and the public both backed the right side with the Giants winning outright 17-14. They were paying +400 on the moneyline as well.

    Early money: Win

    Super Bowl XLIII

    Steelers vs. Cardinals

    Opening spread: Steelers -6.5
    Closing spread: Steelers -6.5

    This matchup was booked pretty evenly but the early money did come in on the underdog and the spread dropped to 5.5 before the Steelers money came in the second week.

    Early money: Win

    Super Bowl XLIV

    Colts vs. Saints

    Opening spread: Colts -3.5
    Closing spread: Colts -4.5

    The Colts got bet up to as high as 6-point chalk before the game closed with the 4.5-point spread. The early money was on the losing side here but the action was reported as light. While digging through the archives it seems like the sharps were backing the Saints late in the second week.

    Early money: Loss

    Super Bowl XLV

    Packers vs. Steelers

    Opening spread: Packers -2
    Closing spread: Packers -3

    The Packers were a wild card entry into the postseason but their impressive march through the NFC playoffs had most football fans thinking they were a better team than the Steelers. Bettors backed the Pack early and they proved to be right with Aaron Rodgers holding up the championship belt.

    Early money: Win

    Super Bowl XLVI

    Patriots vs. Giants

    Opening spread: Pats -3.5
    Closing spread: Pats -3

    Here’s another similar spot here for the books. The early money came in on the underdog Giants who won the game outright over the Patriots again.

    Early money: Win

    Super Bowl XLVII

    49ers vs. Ravens

    Opening spread: 49ers -4
    Closing spread: 49ers -4.5

    The numbers above might say the bettors were on the wrong side, but the line history at Pinnacle shows the first move was in favor of the underdog Ravens. Pinnacle dropped to 49ers -3.5 two days after opening with San Fran giving four points.

    Early money: Win

    Super Bowl XLVIII

    Broncos vs. Seahawks

    Opening spread: Pick
    Closing spread: Seahawks -1.5

    The early action wasn’t uniform across the industry because of the variations of opening lines. Some shops opened with the Broncos favored by two points others listed the game as a pick. Either way, the smart and early money was on the Seahawks, who crushed Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

    Early money: Win

    Super Bowl XLIX

    Patriots vs. Seahawks

    Opening spread: Pats -1
    Closing spread: Pats -1

    The action was split for the full two-week buildup to the Big Game for Super Bowl XLIX. The spread as a near pick’em and that’s how the bettors saw the game.

    Early money: Draw

    Super Bowl L

    Broncos vs. Panthers

    Opening spread: Panthers -3.5
    Closing spread: Panthers -4.5

    The Panthers almost went undefeated on their way to their second Super Bowl appearance as a franchise, but they didn’t show up in the big game and bettors paid a price at the window.

    Early money: Loss

    Super Bowl LI

    Patriots vs. Falcons

    Opening spread: Pats -3
    Closing spread: Pats -3

    The early money came in on the Patriots but not enough to move the spread. The books received two-way action but the first at the window were betting chalk.

    Early money: Win

    Final score: Early money 7-2-1

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    The 52 betting notes you need to know before Super Bowl LII
    Joe Fortenbaugh

    For those of you who may be wondering about the opportune time to make a wager on either the Philadelphia Eagles or New England Patriots for Sunday’s Super Bowl LII in Minnesota, here’s what we are hearing:

    Several seven-figure bets were placed in support of the Eagles during the 10-day window that followed the conference championship games, which moved the point spread from as high as Patriots -6 to as low as Patriots -4. Westgate SuperBook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman told us on Wednesday that he wouldn’t be surprised if this line got as low as Patriots -3.5, but he doesn’t expect to see any Patriots -3 point spreads prior to kickoff.

    However, according to several of our contacts in Vegas, the Patriots money is expected to show up sometime around Friday when the masses descend upon Sin City. New England has always been a popular public play, as evidenced by the ridiculous R.O.I. the team has delivered over the past two seasons (28-9 ATS, 75.6 percent).

    So the bottom line is as follows: For those of you looking to bet the Eagles, you may have missed the best of it. However, there is still a decent chance that this number goes up when the Patriots money begins to show in Vegas. For those of you looking to side with New England, you likely won’t do much better than Patriots -4, barring some unforeseen development.

    And now, it’s time to go to work.

    *All props courtesy of the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.

    1. In the seven Super Bowl appearances that head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have appeared in together, the New England Patriots have NEVER scored a point during the first quarter of action. PROP: Will either team score in the first 6:30 of the game: YES +105, NO -125.

    2. In those same seven aforementioned Super Bowls, the Patriots permitted a grand total of just 15 points to be scored during the first quarter. The St. Louis Rams (2002) and New York Giants (2008) each scored three points against the New England defense while the 2012 New York Giants jumped out to a 9-0 lead through the first 15 minutes of action.

    3. PROP: Which team will score first: PATRIOTS -130 vs. EAGLES +110.

    4. Since 2002, the seven Super Bowls that have featured the New England Patriots have been decided by the razor-thin average of just 3.7 points per game. The Patriots defeated St. Louis (2002), Carolina (2004) and Philadelphia (2005) by three points each, lost to the Giants in 2008 by three points and in 2012 by four points, beat Seattle in 2015 by four points and shocked Atlanta in 2017 by six points. Take note that last year’s 34-28 win over the Falcons came during the first overtime in Super Bowl history.

    5. Finally, be advised that the slow first quarter starts that have taken place during New England’s Brady-Belichick Super Bowl era have still found a way to produce an average of 19.4 points per first half combined between the two participants. Clearly, this indicates a trend of explosive second quarters.

    6. Through 51 Super Bowls, the first score of the game breaks down as follows: Touchdown 25 times (49.0 percent), field goal 23 times (45.1 percent) and safety three times (5.8 percent). PROP: The first score of the game will be: TOUCHDOWN -160, ANY OTHER SCORE +140.

    7. In regards to the first score of the game, through 51 Super Bowls, here’s a breakdown of which position has recorded the first touchdown of the game: Wide receivers with 23 (45.1 percent), running backs with 15 (29.4 percent), defense/special teams with five (9.8 percent), tight ends with four (7.8 percent), quarterbacks with two (3.9 percent) and fullbacks with two (3.9 percent).

    8. In seven Super Bowl appearances together, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are 5-2 straight-up and 3-4 against the spread, with the under cashing in four of those seven matchups.

    9. The team that wins the Super Bowl has also gone on to cover the point spread an astounding 43 times (43-6-2 ATS, 87.7 percent).

    10. In the previous 51 Super Bowls, favorites are 27-22-2 ATS while underdogs are 22-27-2 ATS. However…

    11. The underdog has covered the number in five of the last six and eight of the last ten Super Bowls.

    12. The OVER has cashed in four of the last five Super Bowls.

    13. The coin toss: Through 51 Super Bowls, “tails” holds the edge over “heads” by a 27-24 margin. Additionally, take note that “tails” has come up victorious in four straight Super Bowls.

    14. The NFC representative in the Super Bowl has won an astounding 18 of the last 20 coin flips (90.0 percent).

    15. In the previous 51 Super Bowls, the winner of the coin toss has gone on to win the game only 24 times (47.1 percent). Atlanta won the coin toss last year in Houston, but went on to lose the game in overtime to New England, 34-28.

    16. In the seven Super Bowls that New England has played under the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady alliance, the Patriots have won the coin toss exactly one time (14.3 percent), which came in 2012 when the Pats fell 21-17 to the New York Giants in Indianapolis.

    17. PROP I LIKE: Torrey Smith OVER 16.5 yards for longest reception (-110 both ways). Smith is one of the most overpaid wide receivers in the National Football League, but he’s still a home run threat who has recorded receptions of 20 or more yards in each of Philadelphia’s two playoff games this postseason.

    18. One of the most important situations to watch on Sunday will feature Philadelphia’s third down offense against New England’s third down defense. During the 2017 regular season, the Eagles ranked third in the NFL in third down offense (43.6 percent) while the Patriots ranked 20th in third down defense (39.1 percent).

    19. The team to record the first score in the Super Bowl has gone on to win the game 34 times (34-17, 66.6 percent), which includes five of the last six Super Bowls. PROP: Will the team that scores first win the game: YES -170, NO +145.

    20. In ten playoff games this postseason, underdogs are a staggering 9-1 ATS.

    21. Second-half scoring has overpowered first-half scoring in 14 of the last 19 Super Bowls. Put differently, there have been more points scored during the second half of the Super Bowl than the first half of the Super Bowl in 14 of the last 19 seasons (14-4-1, with the only tie coming in Super Bowl XLVI when the Giants and Patriots combined to score exactly 19 points in each half).

    22. Seeing as how Super Bowl LII will take place indoors on an artificial surface, it’s worth noting that New England is 6-1 ATS over its last seven games played on an artificial surface while Philadelphia is 2-7 ATS over its last nine contests played on turf.

    23. In addition, the OVER is 10-3 in Philadelphia’s last 13 games played on turf and 67-33 in New England’s last 100 contests played on an artificial surface.

    24. The OVER is 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two teams while the underdog is 5-1 ATS over the last six encounters between these two franchises.

    25. The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans will wager $4.76 billion on Super Bowl LII. But, here’s the most interesting part of that estimate…

    26. A shocking 97 percent of that $4.76 billion will be wagered illegally across the country, which includes local bookmakers and offshore sportsbooks.

    27. A record $138.4 million was bet on last year’s Super Bowl in the state of Nevada. Multiple bookmakers in Las Vegas have been quoted over the past week as saying that they expect this year’s Super Bowl handle to surpass last year’s record-setting mark.

    28. According to our friend David Purdum of ESPN, Nevada sportsbooks have come out ahead in 25 of the 27 Super Bowls that have taken place since Nevada Gaming Control began tracking Super Bowl betting back in 1991.

    29. N/A

    30. PROP I LIKE: James White OVER 10.5 rushing yards (-110): White has notched at least 11 rushing yards in 12 of 16 games this season. But perhaps more importantly, this is the guy who came up huge for the Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl victory over Atlanta with 139 total yards and three scores on 22 touches. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Belichick, in an attempt to keep Philadelphia guessing, turns the keys to the New England backfield over to White on Sunday.

    31. Feel free to hate Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Seriously. Since Kraft bought the New England Patriots in 1994 for a price of $172 million, his franchise has qualified for the postseason in 19 of a possible 24 years. And, yes, that includes 17 divisional championships.

    32. In the previous 51 Super Bowls, only six (11.7 percent) have been decided by exactly three points. However, of the last 16 Super Bowls, five (31.3 percent) have been decided by exactly three points. Finally, of the seven Super Bowls that have featured the Belichick-Brady alliance, four (57.1 percent) have been decided by exactly three points. PROP: Will the game be decided by exactly three points: YES +375, NO -500.

    33. Barring some sort of shocking development over the next few days, Super Bowl LII will mark the tenth consecutive year in which the NFL’s biggest game of the season closes with a point spread of seven points or less. In addition, 2018 will mark the 15th time in the last 16 years in which the closing number was seven or fewer points. The outlier of this group took place in 2008 when the Patriots closed as 12-point favorites over Eli Manning and the New York Giants, who would go on to shock the world by upsetting the undefeated Pats, 17-14.

    34. Compare the information in No. 25 with the stretch of championships played from 1994-1999 in which six straight Super Bowls featured a point spread of seven points or greater, with five of those Super Bowls featuring a double-digit point spread.

    35. MVP prop: In the previous 51 Super Bowls, the MVP was awarded to a quarterback 28 times (54.9 percent), a wide receiver six times (11.7 percent), a running back six times (11.7 percent), a linebacker three times (5.8 percent), a defensive lineman three times (5.8 percent), a cornerback twice (3.9 percent) and a safety, fullback and specialist once each (1.9 percent).

    36. Last February’s epic showdown between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons marked the first time in Super Bowl history that the game went into overtime. Based on several conversations that I’ve had this past week with professional sports bettors in Las Vegas, the sharp action is backing “No” on the following: PROP: Will there be overtime? YES +600, NO -900.

    37. Here’s the rundown on how the last ten Super Bowl National Anthems have played out:

    Super Bowl 42: Jordin Sparks at 1:54
    Super Bowl 43: Jennifer Hudson at 2:10
    Super Bowl 44: Carrie Underwood at 1:47
    Super Bowl 45: Christina Aguilera at 1:54
    Super Bowl 46: Kelly Clarkson at 1:34
    Super Bowl 47: Alicia Keys at 2:35
    Super Bowl 48: Renee Fleming at 1:54
    Super Bowl 49: Idina Menzel at 2:04
    Super Bowl 50: Lady Gaga at 2:09 (controversial)
    Super Bowl 51: Luke Bryan at 2:04

    Pink is scheduled to perform this year’s National Anthem, with the over/under currently set at 2:00 (Over: -180, Under: +140).

    38. Through 51 Super Bowls, no team has ever been held scoreless.

    39. Through 51 Super Bowls, no kicker has ever converted a field goal from 55 yards or longer.

    40. For those of you who may be interested in any proposition wagers that include an over/under on the final Nielsen Ratings for Super Bowl 52, here’s how the last ten Super Bowls have broken down:

    Super Bowl 51 (Patriots-Falcons): 48.8
    Super Bowl 50 (Broncos-Panthers): 46.6
    Super Bowl 49 (Patriots-Seahawks): 47.5
    Super Bowl 48 (Seahawks-Broncos): 46.7
    Super Bowl 47 (Ravens-49ers): 46.3
    Super Bowl 46 (Giants-Patriots): 47.0
    Super Bowl 45 (Packers-Steelers): 46.0
    Super Bowl 44 (Saints-Colts): 45.0
    Super Bowl 43 (Steelers-Cardinals): 42.0
    Super Bowl 42 (Giants-Patriots): 43.1

    41. There have been exactly eight instances of back-to-back Super Bowl winners since the inception of the NFL’s ultimate game back in 1966. The last time a franchise won back-to-back Super Bowls came in 2003 and 2004 when Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers and—you guessed it—Philadelphia Eagles.

    42. Since 2000, the Eagles own the fifth-highest winning percentage in the National Football League. However, of the five teams with the highest winning percentages since 2000—New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Green Bay and Philadelphia—only the Eagles have failed to win a Super Bowl during that time frame.

    43. It’s not as if the Eagles dislike running back LeGarrette Blount, it’s just that the organization likes Jay Ajayi more. Case in point, ever since Ajayi asserted himself amongst the Philadelphia running back platoon back in late October following his trade from Miami, Blount’s rushing totals have decreased significantly. Take a look for yourself:

    Week 11 at Cowboys: 13 carries
    Week 12 vs. Bears: 15 carries
    Week 13 at Seahawks: 8 carries
    Week 14 at Rams: 7 carries
    Week 15 at Giants: 7 carries
    Week 16 vs. Raiders: 5 carries
    Week 17 vs. Cowboys: 9 carries
    Divisional Round vs. Atlanta: 9 carries
    Championship Round vs. Minnesota: 6 carries

    …with that being said…

    44. PROP I LIKE: LeGarrette Blount UNDER 7.5 rushing attempts (-110 both ways)

    45. PROP I LIKE: LeGarrette Blount UNDER 27.5 rushing yards (-110 both ways)

    46. PROP I LIKE: LeGarrette Blount UNDER 9.5 yards for longest rushing attempt (-110 both ways)

    47. Fun Fact: If you eliminate the rookie year when he threw just three passes as well as the 2008 campaign in which Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wrecked his knee in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, the future Hall of Famer has played 16 NFL seasons. And in those 16 NFL seasons, Brady has—as of Sunday—appeared in eight Super Bowls. That means it’s more likely that Tom Brady plays in a Super Bowl (50 percent) than two-time MVP and two-time NBA Champion Steph Curry makes a basket (47.7 percent).

    48. Teams that score fewer than 20 points in a Super Bowl are 1-23 SU and 3-20-1 ATS since 1980.

    49. A 30-second commercial during this year’s Super Bowl will cost approximately $5 million.

    50. PROP I LIKE: Will Zach Ertz score a touchdown: NO -200. The Stanford product hasn’t found the end zone in any of his last four outings. Additionally, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is notorious for eliminating the opposition’s most dangerous threat and, when it comes to Super Bowl LII, I believe that to be Ertz. I’m on the “NO” in this spot.

    51. The UNDER is 10-4-1 in Philadelphia’s last 15 playoff games.

    52. PROP(S) I LIKE: Danny Amendola OVER 52.5 receiving yards (-110 both ways), OVER 4.5 receptions (-110 both ways) and “YES” (+190) Amendola will score a touchdown. Bottom line: I don’t think that tight end Rob Gronkowski will be anywhere near 100 percent for this matchup. And even if Gronk is good to go, Philadelphia will be keying on the Pro Bowl tight end from start to finish. Enter Amendola, who has all the makings of the “scrappy, underdog hero” for this one.

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    NFL

    Sunday, February 4


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Super Bowl LII betting preview and odds: Eagles vs. Patriots
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots (-4.5, 48)

    No team has won back-to-back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots held off the Philadelphia Eagles in February 2005 - the franchise's third championship in four seasons. Thirteen years later, the Super Bowl script is unchanged: The Patriots are vying to win consecutive titles and the Eagles are trying to prevent Tom Brady and Bill Belichick from hoisting a third Lombardi Trophy in four years.

    Making its eighth Super Bowl appearance in 17 seasons behind the most successful coach-quarterback combination in NFL history, New England has won five championships in that span, including last season's dramatic 34-28 overtime victory over Atlanta that featured the greatest comeback on the NFL's grandest stage. “It’s just been an unbelievable run and I think everyone should be really proud of what we’ve accomplished," said four-time Super Bowl MVP Brady, who is hoping star tight end Rob Gronkowski will be available. "I’m proud of our team. It’s been a great year and it would be really great if we can take care of business in the next game.” Top-seeded Philadelphia is on quite a run of its own, embracing its underdog status following a season-ending injury to starting quarterback Carson Wentz and rallying behind backup Nick Foles to stomp No. 2 seed Minnesota 38-7 and earn its first trip to the Super Bowl since that 24-21 loss to the Patriots. "We know what we’re faced against, we know the opponent we’re going against,” Eagles second-year coach Doug Pederson said. "Lot of respect for them obviously and what they’ve done and what they’ve accomplished. It’s about what we do. How our players handle this week and eliminate distractions and eliminate the noise and how well they prepare and get themselves ready to go.”

    TV:
    6:30 p.m. ET, NBC.

    LINE HISTORY:
    The Patriots opened as 5.5-point favorites but a steady flood of Eagles money during the first week and a half of betting has pushed the pointspread down to 4.5. The total hit betting boards at 48 and has been steady heading into the weekend.

    WHAT BOOKS SAY:
    “It’s been all Eagles up to this point. If Gronkowski gets announced that he’s playing, which I think is gonna happen, that’ll maybe stabilize the line or even push it up a little bit. The total is kind of a dead issue. It won’t be as we get closer to the game, but as of now, it’s drawing the least interest of all the options, including the props." - Johnny Avello, executive director of race and sports at Wynn Las Vegas.

    INJURY REPORT:


    Eagles - DT Fletcher Cox (Probable, Calf), QB Nick Foles (Probable, Ribs), RB Jay Ajayi (Probable, Ankle), RB Kenjon Barner (Probable, Illness), DT Tim Jernigan (Probable, Illness), LB Dannell Ellerbe (Probable, Hamstring), CB Sidney Jones (Questionable, Hamstring), QB Carson Wentz (I-R, Knee), K Caleb Sturgis (I-R, Quadricep), S Chris Maragos (I-R, Knee), LB Joe Walker (I-R, Neck), LB Jordan Hicks (I-R, Achilles), T Jason Peters (I-R, Knee), RB Darren Sproles (I-R, Knee), RB Donnel Pumphrey (I-R, Hamstring), CB Randall Goforth (I-R, Knee), WR Dom Williams (I-R, Achilles), DT Aziz Shittu (I-R, Knee).

    Patriots - DL Malcom Brown (Probable, Knee), CB Malcolm Butler (Probable, Flu), DL Alan Branch (Probable, Knee), TE Rob Gronkowski (Probable, Concussion), DL Deatrich Wise (Probable, Concussion), DB Devin McCourty (Probable, Shoulder), QB Tom Brady (Probable, Hand), DB Brandon King (Questionable, Knee), RB Mike Gillislee (Questionable, Knee), OL LaAdrian Waddle (Questionable, Knee), DT Vincent Valentine (Questionable, Knee), DB Jonathan Jones (I-R, Foot), WR Malcolm Mitchell (I-R, Knee), OL Marcus Cannon (I-R, Ankle), OL Tony Garcia (I-R, Illness), OL Andrew Jelks (I-R, Knee), DB Nate Ebner (I-R, Knee), TE Martellus Bennett (I-R, Shoulder), LB Dont'a Hightower (I-R, Pectoral), LB Shea McClellin (I-R, Concussion), LB Harvey Langi (I-R, Back), DL Keionta Davis (I-R, Neck), CB Cyrus Jones (I-R, Knee), WR Julian Edelman (I-R, Knee), DE Derek Rivers (I-R, Knee).

    MATCHUP CHART:




    ABOUT THE EAGLES (15-3 SU, 12-6 ATS, 9-9 O/U):
    With Foles no longer looking like a weak link following a superb performance against Minnesota, in which he threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, Philadelphia presents a balanced offense the likes of which New England hasn't faced since Week 15 at Pittsburgh. Foles has multiple weapons in wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, who combined for 10 catches and three touchdowns in the NFC title game, along with tight end Zach Ertz (11 receptions in both playoff games). Jay Ajayi has rushed for 127 yards in the two postseason games and is complemented by sledgehammer back LeGarrette Blount, who has 10 career playoff touchdowns and won a Super Bowl last season with the Patriots. Philadelphia's defense ranked No. 1 against the run (79.2 yards per game) and also tied for fourth with 19 interceptions.

    ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (15-3 SU, 12-6 ATS, 8-10 O/U):
    Brady has been spectacular in the past two Super Bowl victories, rallying New England from 25 points down last season and erasing a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit against Seattle three years ago. The Patriots also had to come from 10 points down in the AFC Championship Game despite the absence of Gronkowski, who was limited in practice Wednesday and remains in the league's concussion protocol. Danny Amendola caught a pair of fourth-quarter TD passes versus Jacksonville and has 18 receptions in the two playoff games while speedster Brandin Cooks has nine. Ex-Eagle Dion Lewis has carried the running game over the second half of the season but all three backs are threats in the passing game, particularly James White. New England's defense looked vulnerable against Jacksonville but has 11 sacks in the postseason.

    TRENDS:


    * Eagles are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games overall.
    * Patriots are 16-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
    * Under is 10-4-1 in Eagles' last 15 playoff games.
    * Over is 8-2 in Patriots' last 10 playoff games.
    * Underdog is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.

    EXTRA POINTS:


    1. The Patriots are looking to join the Steelers as the only team with six Super Bowl championships.
    2. Foles is the only QB to post a passer rating of at least 100 in his first three postseason games.
    3. Gronkowski has 10 postseason touchdowns, including seven in his last seven playoff games.

    CONSENSUS:
    The public is siding with the underdog Philadelphia Eagles at a rate of 62 percent and the Over is getting 67 percent of the totals action.


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

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    Odds to win Super Bowl LIII: Who are the favorites and who are the best long shot bets
    Ashton Grewal

    Rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson put up 1699 passing yards and 19 touchdowns in just six starts for the Houston Texans in 2017. He's expected to be ready for Week 1 next season.

    The NFL season ended on Sunday and leaves sports bettors seven long months to contemplate who will win Super Bowl LIII.

    Here’s our way too early look at the favorites and the long shots with the best value to win the Super Bowl next season.

    The Favorites

    New England Patriots +400
    Pittsburgh Steelers +800
    Minnesota Vikings +1200
    Green Bay Packers +1200
    New Orleans Saints +1600


    Oddsmakers will stop listing the New England Patriots as the preseason Super Bowl favorites the minute anti-age robot Tom Brady runs out of unicorn blood. Protect Porzingis!

    The Steelers possess all the offensive flash but made a change at offensive coordinator, and it sounds like things are about to get real ugly between management and running back Le’Veon Bell.

    The Vikings are solid on both sides of the ball but who’s going to be taking snaps under center next season?

    The Saints have the running game, and a young and improving stopper-unit, but Drew Brees is 39. Will he still have his fastball and can he carry New Orleans in games when the ground game is sluggish in his 18th pro season?

    We feel much better putting our faith in Aaron Rodgers putting the Green Bay Packers back in the playoffs after an injury-marred 2017 campaign. Rodgers is still the best player in the league, at the most influential position, and Green Bay should be able to address its holes on the offensive line and defensive secondary in the draft this year.

    The No-Chance-in-Hell Group

    Cleveland Browns +10,000
    New York Jets +10,000
    Chicago Bears +10,000


    The Chicago Bears could be a lot better next season but they play in one of the toughest divisions in the league. Getting into the playoffs is far-fetched but taking the over on them when NFL season win totals are released might be a good move.

    The Browns are rumored to be interested in Kirk Cousins should the Washington Redskins QB become available. He would be a huge upgrade for them but probably not enough to get them to more than eight wins.

    The Jets were better than most expected in 2017, but they’re still a mess at quarterback and aren’t expected to be major players in free agency.

    Best Value Bets

    Los Angeles Rams +2000

    It’s our opinion 2017 wasn’t a fluke for football fans in Los Angeles. The Rams are loaded on offense with talented wide receivers and arguably the league’s best running back in Todd Gurley. They have a boy-genius head coach in Sean McVay and one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the game in Aaron Donald.

    The San Francisco 49ers are generating buzz but are still at least a year away from contending and the Seattle Seahawks’ veteran-filled roster is on its last legs. The NFC West will belong to the Rams again in 2018.

    Houston Texans +2000

    This is a bet on Deshaun Watson coming back healthy and ready for the upcoming season. The quarterback was electric in his rookie season producing 1699 passing yards and 19 touchdowns in just six starts for the Texans. He’s recovering well from the knee injury and the team expects he’ll be able to participate in OTAs this spring with his teammates.

    The Texans finished in last place in the AFC South which means they’ll get a softer schedule in 2018. They’ll play against the AFC East and NFC East and have the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos filling out the rest of their schedule.

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