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Thread: NFL Trends and Indexes - Week 17 (Sun., Dec. 30)

  1. #16
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    Bears at Vikings
    December 28, 2018
    By Bookmaker


    NFL Game Preview - Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

    by Kyle Markus


    The math for the Minnesota Vikings is simple: beat the Chicago Bears in their Week 17 regular season finale, and a playoff berth awaits. If not, the Eagles may jump them for the final wild card spot in the NFC. The Bears don’t have as much to play for but do have an outside chance at claiming a first-round bye with a win, so it will be interesting to see how they handle this matchup.

    The Bears have been really impressive of late and in regular conditions would likely be either the favorite or a small underdog in this one. However, the Vikings’ motivation to win this one is much higher and the oddsmakers have clearly taken that into account.

    Keep a close eye on any potential playing time plans for Chicago as it could tilt the direction of this outcome in NFL gambling.

    This NFL football game between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 30th, 2018. The game will be nationally televised on FOX.

    We'll have NFL football odds at BookMaker.eu available for every game of the 2018 NFL season.

    Odds Analysis

    The Vikings are listed as 4.5-point favorites to win this game. Minnesota is listed as the -210 favorite while the Bears are the +176 underdog. The scoring total is listed at 40.5 points as the oddsmakers are expecting a defensive battle and seem to be bracing for Chicago possibly pulling some of its key starters.

    There is the live betting option for this matchup, so don’t forget to add on wagers even after the game has kicked off.

    Playing Time Report

    Bears coach Matt Nagy said earlier this week that he plans to treat this as a normal game and play all of his starters. This game is going on at the same time as the Rams-49ers affair. Chicago needs to win and have Los Angeles lose in order to claim the No. 2 seed in the NFC and earn a first-round bye.

    The Bears will enter the postseason as the No. 3 seed if they lose or the Rams win. If the Rams are up big, Chicago could help decide who it faces in the wild card round. A loss to the Vikings would likely result in a rematch between these teams next week. With that in mind, the Bears may not want to show everything scheme-wise in case they do play again. The Vikings will have to go all out because they need a victory to get in.

    Previous Matchup

    These teams met in Chicago earlier this season and the Bears came away with a 25-20 victory. They led by 14 points at halftime and kept control of the contest throughout. Some late points by the Vikings made the final score respectable but Chicago was clearly the better team.

    Chicago edge rusher Khalil Mack had a sack and a fumble recovery, and the Vikings will need to keep him at bay in this one. Bears safety Eddie Jackson had an interception return for a touchdown. He has an ankle injury and is iffy for this game. It would be a big loss if he cannot go.

    Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins struggled against the strong Bears defense and will need to play better in the rematch.

    Free NFL ATS Picks

    The Vikings may need this game more, but if the Bears play it legitimately they will have a good shot at not only covering the spread but also pulling the upset. Minnesota’s playoff chances are going to get extinguished by its division rival. The Bears probably won’t finish as the No. 2 seed but they will grab another win heading into the postseason in NFL wagering.

    NFL ATS Pick: Chicago Bears 24, Minnesota Vikings 20
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Gridiron Angles - Week 17
    December 29, 2018
    By Vince Akins

    NFL PLAY ON ATS TREND:

    -- The Packers are 10-0 ATS (10.65 ppg) since Dec 20, 1992 as a home favorite coming off a road win where they allowed at least 300 passing yards.

    NFL PLAY AGAINST TREND:

    -- The Raiders are 0-10 ATS (-16.2 ppg) since Dec 22, 2003 coming off a win as a home dog where they threw for less than 200 yards.

    TOP NFL PLAYER ATS TREND:

    -- The Texans are 0-7-1 ATS (-7.4 ppg) since Oct 25, 2015 when Deandre Hopkins had at least nine receptions last game.

    NFL CHOICE TRENDS:

    -- The Chargers are 11-0 ATS (12.18 ppg) since Nov 29, 1993 off a loss as a favorite where they scored less than 14 points.

    -- The Falcons are 0-10 OU (-9.55 ppg) since Oct 25, 2015 off a game as a favorite where they committed at least two turnovers.

    TOP NFL PLAYER OU TREND:

    -- The Steelers are 10-0 OU (14.9 ppg) since Dec 08, 2013 at home coming off a road game where Ben Roethlisberger threw at least 40 passes.

    NFL O/U OVER TREND:

    -- The Steelers are 10-0 OU (11.4 ppg) since Dec 08, 2013 at home coming off a game as a dog where they gained at least 22 first downs.

    NFL O/U UNDER TREND:

    -- The Cowboys are 0-12 OU (-8.9 ppg) since Jan 11, 2015 on the road coming off a home win where they scored at least 24 points.

    NFL BIBLE ATS ACTIVE TREND:

    -- The Raiders are 0-14 ATS (-12.3 ppg) as a dog off a home win in which they had a takeaway margin of at least plus-two.

    NFL BIBLE O/U ACTIVE TREND:

    -- The Panthers are 11-0 OU (+16.4 ppg) on turf when they are playing a team with a better record.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Total Talk - Week 17
    December 29, 2018
    By Chris David


    The ‘under’ produced a 9-6-1 record for the second consecutive week and most of the results were never in doubt. Some bettors caught some luck in the Bengals-Browns games as Cincinnati rallied for 18 late points to push that total while others weren’t too happy that the Rams and Cardinals only combined for 10 points in the second-half after a 30-spot in the first. Also, the Buccaneers and Cowboys were on a nice pace but those that sided with the ‘over’ couldn’t get the late surge. Through 17 weeks, the ‘under’ sits at 126-112-2 on the season.

    2018 TOTAL RESULTS - GAME & HALVES

    O/U Game 1st Half 2nd Half
    Week 16 6-9-1 7-9 10-6

    O/U Game 1st Half 2nd Half
    Year-to-Date 112-126-2 117-123 107-127-6

    2018 RESULTS - OTHER

    O/U AFC-NFC Divisional Indoor Coast to Coast
    Week 16 6-0 1-5-1 1-3 0-1

    O/U AFC-NFC Divisional Indoor Coast to Coast
    Year-to-Date 34-26 35-44-1 20-26 11-7-1

    Line Moves and Public Leans

    Listed below are the largest line moves for Week 17 as of Saturday morning per BookMaker.eu.

    Dallas at N.Y. Giants: 43 ½ to 41
    Oakland at Kansas City: 55 ½ to 52 ½
    Atlanta at Tampa Bay: 49 ½ to 52 ½
    Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: 48 to 45 ½
    San Francisco at L.A. Rams: 50 ½ to 48 ½

    Listed below are the five largest leans for Week 17 per the betting trend percentages on the VI Matchup index as of Saturday morning.

    Jacksonville at Houston: Under 97%
    Arizona at Seattle: Under 94%
    San Francisco at L.A. Rams: Under 95%
    Carolina at New Orleans: Under 92%
    Miami at Buffalo: Under 91%

    Make a note that 14 of the 16 games showed a lean to the ‘under’ on Sunday. The two outlier ‘over’ wagers were on the Baltimore-Cleveland and Detroit-Green Bay matchups.

    Handicapping Week 17

    All 16 games are divisional matchups on Sunday and we’ve seen these contests watch the ‘under’ go 44-35-1 this season, which includes a 5-1-1 mark to the low side in Week 16. As many of you know, the last week of the regular season is often the most difficult to handicap and while we’ve had plenty of great games to follow, Week 17 is borderline unwatchable.

    With that being said, I’d urge you to tread lightly on the meaningless matchups.

    WEEK 17 TOTAL RESULTS (2012-2017)
    Year Over/Under
    2017 7-9
    2016 9-7
    2015 5-11
    2014 6-10
    2013 6-10
    2012 8-8

    The ‘under’ went 9-7 last season and looking back at the past six seasons above, it’s been a common theme in the totals market.

    Based on playoff implications, there are six meaningless matchups on Sunday and they all take place at 1:00 p.m. ET. Hopefully you’ll be able to survive the first wave of action and still be alive for the more meaningful games in Week 17.

    Dallas at N.Y. Giants: Despite being in the playoffs, the Cowboys have stated that they’ll play their starters for this game but the books aren’t falling for that garbage, which is why the Giants are listed as home favorites (-6). The ‘under’ is on a 5-0 run in this series and all signs point to another low-scoring affair.

    Carolina at New Orleans: The pair just played in Week 15 and the Saints captured a 12-9 road win and the ‘under’ (50 ½) was never in doubt. The total is much lower for the rematch and while the Saints might not play all of their starters for the entire game, backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater might want to make a statement as he's been tabbed the starter. Carolina will have rookie QB Kyle Allen under center.

    Detroit at Green Bay: The ‘over’ has cashed in six straight and eight of the last 10 in this series. While I can see the Packers putting up some points in their home finale, the same can’t be said for the Lions. Detroit is averaging 15.1 points per game in its last six, which has led to a 6-0 ‘under’ run.

    Jacksonville at Houston: The Jaguars are another team that hasn’t scored recently, averaging 11.3 PPG in their last four games. Blake Bortles back at QB for the Jaguars but he was benched in the first meeting as Houston stifled Jacksonville 20-7 on the road in Week 7.

    Atlanta at Tampa Bay: This is the highest total (52 ½) for a non-playoff matchup and you could certainly argue for the ‘over’ based on their recent encounters. The high side is on a 4-1 run in this series, which includes Atlanta’s 34-29 win over Tampa Bay in Week 6 at home. The Buccaneers started the season on an 8-2 ‘over’ run but they enter this game on a 5-0 ‘under’ streak.

    Miami at Buffalo: The Dolphins defeated the Bills 21-17 earlier this month at home and the ‘under’ (40) barely cashed. Miami hasn’t travelled well (1-6 SU) all season, largely due to the offense (17.1 PPG). Buffalo (15.1 PPG) hasn’t shown any pop offensively but bettors aren’t expecting Miami to show up for this Week 17 matchup with the line going from Bills -3 ½ to -5 ½ already. I guess you can understand why knowing Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill has never won at Buffalo in his career (0-4) and the offense has averaged 10.3 PPG in those starts.

    Heavy Expectations

    There are five games listed with double-digit spreads for Week 17 and four of them take place at 4:25 p.m. ET. The totals are ranging from 38 ½ to 52 ½ in these contests and cashing a total could come down to which teams lay off the gas in the second-half.

    N.Y. Jets at New England (1:00 p.m. ET):
    The ‘under’ has cashed in the last five meetings, which includes a 2-0 mark at Foxboro. The Jets have been held to a combined nine points in their last two visits to Gillette Stadium.

    Oakland at Kansas City: The pair played to a wild shootout on Dec. 2 as the Chiefs captured a 40-33 win at Oakland. The Raiders haven’t come close to that number in their last three trips (15 PPG) to Arrowhead and that’s helped the ‘under’ go 3-0.

    Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: The ‘under’ is on a 4-2 run in this series. Pittsburgh has been more explosive at home (32 PPG) and that effort has helped the ‘over’ go 5-2 at Heinz Field. Since Jeff Driskell took over for QB at Cincy, the club has watched the ‘under’ go 2-0 with two pushes.

    Arizona at Seattle: This is the lowest total on the board (38 ½) and while the ‘under’ seems like an obvious lean since Seattle doesn’t have much to gain as far as its playoff status and Arizona has shown us nothing this season. However, make a note that the previous three encounters at CenturyLink Field have been wild shootouts as the pair have combined for 50, 65 and 71 points.

    San Francisco at L.A. Rams: The ‘under’ (52) cashed in the first meeting on Oct. 21 as the Rams dominated the Niners 39-10 in Santa Clara. We haven’t seen much from San Francisco QB Nick Mullens on the road, with the club scoring 9 and 16 points in two away games. The Rams have seen the ‘over’ go 5-2 at home while averaging 35.6 PPG. Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) has been ruled 'out' for this game.

    Meaningful Matchups

    As I’ve said above, there aren’t many attractive games but this quartet below features the most intrigue.

    Philadelphia at Washington: The Eagles beat the Redskins 28-13 at home in Week 13 and the ‘under’ connected, which has been a solid theme at Lincoln Financial Field. On the road, the Birds have watched the ‘over’ go 5-2 and QB Nick Foles has led the offense to 31 PPG in his two recent starts. Can Washington get on the board? Since QB Alex Smith went down, the offense has sputtered the last five games (17 PPG). According to our Vegas Money Moves, the public is all-in on the Birds this weekened.

    Cleveland at Baltimore: The ‘under’ has cashed in four straight and that includes Cleveland’s 12-9 win over Baltimore at home in Week 5. Browns rookie QB Baker Mayfield has been solid but on the road against winning clubs (Steelers, Texans), he was humbled as the club was held to a total of 31 points. This is a bigger step up in class as the Ravens are ranked both first in scoring defense (17.5 PPG) and total defense (284 YPG).

    Chicago at Minnesota: Seven of the last 10 meetings have watched the ‘under’ cash and it should be 8-2 if Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins didn’t toss in a late TD in the first battle this season. Chicago won that game 25-20 and the ‘over’ cashed (44) very late. The Bears have an outside shot at the No. 2 seed but they need the Rams to lose while the Vikings need to win this game to get into the playoffs or have the Eagles lose. Minnesota has watched the ‘under’ go 5-2 at home and Chicago enters this game on a 3-0 ‘under’ run. While many believe the Vikes will win and get through, I’m still not sold on a team that has only defeated one team (Philadelphia) with a winning record this season.

    L.A. Chargers at Denver: I’m a little surprised this number was pushed from 41 ½ to 42 knowing Denver has been the best ‘under’ (12-3) team in the league. Also, it enters this game on an 8-0 run to the low side and the ‘under’ is 6-1 at Mile High this season. The Chargers could be the No. 1 seed in the AFC or the Wild Card, likely the latter but it needs to win and hopes KC loses at home to Oakland. It is a revenge game for the Bolts and they’re coming off a loss last Saturday. With that being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a crooked number posted by the visitor and the Bolts offense (27.4 PPG) has travelled very well this season.

    Under the Lights

    There wasn’t a Sunday Night Football matchup in Week 17 last season because the league felt that there wasn't one specific matchup that had direct playoff implications for both teams involved. It returns this season with an AFC South clash between the Titans and Colts. The ‘under’ has cashed in two straight and three of the last four in this series. Indianapolis routed Tennessee 38-10 on Nov. 18 at home and the low side (50) connected.

    That stat you’ve probably heard this week is Colts QB Andrew Luck’s record versus the Titans, which is 10-0 all-time. In those games, Indy has averaged 29.7 PPG and he’s dropped 30-plus points three times from Nashville. This year’s Tennessee defense (18 PPG) is very underrated and ranked second in scoring. Also, the Colts offense (23 PPG) has looked very inconsistent at times on the road even getting shutout at Jacksonville just four weeks ago.

    The total is nearly a touchdown less than the first meeting and that’s based on those numbers, plus Titans QB Marcus Mariota remains ‘questionable’ for the contest. Backup Blaine Gabbert doesn’t put a lot of scare into anybody but the Tennessee offense (19.5 PPG) hasn’t been great with Mariota either.

    For bettors that lean on historical angles, listed below are the Week 17 SNF matchups dating back to 2008.

    2016 - Green Bay 31 at Detroit 24 (Over 50 ½)
    2015 - Minnesota 20 at Green Bay 13 (Under 44)
    2014 – Pittsburgh 27 vs. Cincinnati 17 (Under 49)
    2013 – Philadelphia 24 at Dallas 22 (Under 54 ½)
    2012 – Washington 28 vs. Dallas 18 (Under 48)
    2011 – N.Y. Giants 31 vs. Dallas 14 (Under 48)
    2010 – Seattle 16 vs. St. Louis 6 (Under 42 ½)
    2009 – N.Y. Jets 37 vs. Cincinnati 0 (Over 33 ½)
    2008 – San Diego 52 vs. Denver 21 (Over 50)

    Prior to the Packers-Lions ‘over’ in 2016, the ‘under’ had cashed in six straight SNF finales. Road teams haven’t fared well during this span, but the visitor has won the last two Week 17 finales on SNF.

    Fearless Predictions

    Tough loss in the Tampa Bay-Dallas game last Sunday but I was also fortunate to see the Rams and Cardinals pump the brakes in the second-half. With those outcomes, we got back in the black ($190) last week and push closer to four digits on the season ($945). As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

    Best Over: N.Y. Jets-New England 46 ½
    Best Under: Miami-Buffalo 39 ½
    Best Team Total: Kansas City Chiefs Over 33

    Three-Team Total Teaser (+7.5, +105)
    Over 39 N.Y. Jets-New England
    Over 34 ½ L.A. Chargers-Denver
    Under 48 Chicago-Minnesota
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Sunday Blitz - Week 17
    December 29, 2018
    By Kevin Rogers


    GAMES TO WATCH

    Bears at Vikings (-5, 40 ½) – 4:25 PM EST

    Chicago (11-4 SU, 11-4 ATS) has put together the best turnaround in the NFL by capturing the NFC North title one season after finishing 5-11 and in last place. The Bears still have a shot at clinching a first-round bye with a victory and a Rams’ loss, but Chicago is guaranteed at least one home playoff game after rallying past San Francisco last Sunday, 14-9. Chicago barely cashed as four-point favorites thanks to the Bears’ defense keeping the Niners out of the end zone and taking the lead for good on Jordan Howard’s two-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

    The Vikings (8-6-1 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) control their own destiny for a playoff spot as a win gets them in the postseason. Minnesota is coming off its second consecutive victory after routing Detroit last Sunday at Ford Field, 27-9 to cash as 6 ½-point favorites. The Vikings scored the final 27 points after limiting the Lions to three early field goals, while Kirk Cousins threw a trio of touchdown passes, including two to Kyle Rudolph. However, seven of Minnesota’s eight wins have come against teams owning losing records heading into Week 17.

    In their first matchup at Soldier Field in a Week 11 Sunday night showdown, the Vikings fell in a 22-6 hole before scoring two late touchdowns in a 25-20 defeat to the Bears. Chicago held on for the cover as 2 ½-point favorites to avenge a pair of losses to Minnesota from 2017, as the Bears limited the Vikings to 22 rushing yards on 14 attempts. The Bears are listed as a road underdog for the first time since the season-opening one-point loss to the Packers, while posting a 2-1 ATS mark when receiving points.

    Best Bet: Vikings 26, Bears 20

    Browns at Ravens (-6, 41) – 4:25 PM EST


    One month ago, it seemed like the Steelers would run away with the AFC North title. Following Pittsburgh’s recent meltdown, Baltimore (9-6 SU, 8-7 ATS) is in position to steal the division championship following a 5-1 surge under rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson.

    The Ravens have been the ultimate roller-coaster ride in the NFL this season by starting 4-2, dropping three straight, then going on this hot stretch to reclaim the top spot in the North. The most recent win was the most impressive with Jackson under center by beating the red-hot Chargers in Week 16 as four-point underdogs, 22-10, while limiting an opponent to 21 points or less for the fifth time in six weeks.

    Cleveland (7-7-1 SU, 9-6 ATS) has definitely turned heads this season following two years of dreadful play and only one win to show for it. The Browns have an opportunity to finish above .500 for the first time since 2007, while trying to close the season with four consecutive wins. Cleveland held off Cincinnati last Sunday, 26-18 as the Bengals scored two late touchdowns to cash as 10-point underdogs. However, the Browns enter Week 17 at 1-3 ATS in their past four chances as an underdog of five points or more.

    Best Bet: Ravens 23, Browns 14

    Eagles (-6 ½, 42) at Redskins – 4:25 PM EST


    The defending champions are on the verge of being a one-hit wonder as Philadelphia (8-7 SU, 6-9 ATS) need a victory and a Minnesota loss to reach the playoffs. The Eagles dug themselves a 4-6 hole before winning four of the last five games to keep their hopes alive at a repeat. Philadelphia held off Houston in a shootout last Sunday, 32-30 at Lincoln Financial Field as Nick Foles continued his magic in place of Carson Wentz by throwing for 471 yards and four touchdowns.

    The Eagles seek their fourth division win and a sweep of the Redskins (7-8 SU, 9-6 ATS) as Washington has lost five of six games down the stretch. Washington is down to its fourth quarterback of the season in journeyman Josh Johnson, as he has led the Redskins to a pair of ATS wins against the Jaguars and Titans. After Washington upended Jacksonville in Week 15, the Redskins hung with Tennessee by leading in the fourth quarter prior to allowing two late touchdowns in a 25-16 defeat as 12-point ‘dogs.

    In their first matchup at the Linc earlier this month, the Eagles pulled away from the Redskins, 28-13 to cash as 5 ½-point home favorites. Washington captured five straight meetings over Philadelphia from December 2014 through December 2016, but the Eagles are riding a three-game winning streak over the Redskins since the start of last season.

    Best Bet: Eagles 21, Redskins 17

    SUPERCONTEST PICKS

    Kevin Rogers (3-2 last week, 40-38-2 this season)

    Redskins +6 ½
    Ravens -6
    Buccaneers -1
    Vikings -4 ½
    Rams -10

    Chris David (2-3 last week, 50-29-1 this season)
    Giants -6 ½
    Chiefs -13 ½
    Browns +6
    Chargers -6 ½
    Seahawks -13 ½

    BEST TOTAL PLAY

    UNDER 45 ½ - Lions at Packers (1-0 last week, 10-6 this season)


    Detroit’s offense has been miserable down the stretch as the Lions have been limited to 20 points or less in eight of the past nine games. The Lions are riding a six-game UNDER streak as they travel to Green Bay to face the Packers. Green Bay is seeking consecutive wins for the first time this season following last Sunday’s dramatic overtime triumph over the Jets. The last six matchups between these NFC North rivals have finished OVER the total, but the Packers are 6-3 to the UNDER the last nine games since a 5-1 start to the OVER.

    TRAP OF THE WEEK

    Although both the Falcons and Buccaneers aren’t headed to the playoffs, Atlanta looks to avoid a 10-loss season with a victory at Raymond James Stadium. From 2013-15, the Falcons didn’t reach the playoffs. Why is that important for this contest? In all three of those season finales, the Falcons lost, including twice in the favorite role. Tampa Bay has covered four of its last five contests, while the Bucs have emerged victorious in Week 17 at home the last two seasons.

    BIGGEST LINE MOVE

    Although the Bills have not won a home game by more than three points this season, Buffalo went from a 3 ½-point favorite earlier in the week against Miami to a 5 ½-point favorite. The Bills lost to the Dolphins earlier this season, 21-17, while Buffalo owns an 0-2 ATS mark in the chalk role in 2018. Meanwhile, Miami has picked up only one road victory this season, which came back in Week 2 against the Jets, while the Dolphins have covered just one in six away defeats.

    BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW

    One team has failed to win a road game this season and it’s the San Francisco 49ers. It won’t be easy to break through the win column on Sunday as the Niners face the Rams, who need to win to secure a first round bye in the NFC playoffs. If San Francisco loses, it will mark the third straight season a team has posted an 0-8 record away from home (Cleveland in 2016-17), as the Niners seek their third road cover of the season.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Top 6 picks for Week 17 of Westgate SuperBook NFL handicapping contest:

    1) Colts, -3 (972)

    2) Browns, +6 (904)

    3) Bills, -3.5 (847)

    4) Eagles, -6.5 (800)

    5) Vikings, -4.5 (758)

    6) Texans, -6.5 (670)

    Season record: 51-44-3

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    Essentials - Week 17
    Tony Mejia

    Sunday
    Dallas at N.Y. Giants (-6.5/41), 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    Talented guard Zack Martin’s knee is improving enough that he’ll be counted on to play in the Wild Card round but he’ll be absent here. Tackle Tyron Smith is working his way back from a knee injury but isn’t expected to play more than a series or two, which means you should take the pledge Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett made to utilize all healthy starters with a grain of salt. It’s hard to imagine the Cowboys exposing Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott behind backup offensive linemen even with the Giants having struggled so much this season. Linebacker Sean Lee should see a heavier workload as he tries to get back to 100 percent following his latest hamstring injury. Defensive linemen David Irving and Tyrone Crawford have been ruled out, which should make life easier for New York’s rookie running back to finish his season off in style.

    Barkley opens this contest 236 yards behind Dallas’ Elliott for the rushing title and will likely get his typical workload barring something unexpected. With Odell Beckham, Jr. out, Eli Manning struck up a nice connection with Sterling Shepard last week, hooking up with him six times for 113 yards. Between Barkley, Shepard and tight end Evan Engram, the Giants have enough ammo to justify them being favored here with the Cowboys expected to ride backups for the majority of this one.

    Carolina at New Orleans (-7.5/43), 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    The rumor is that Ron Rivera should survive Black Monday, so the head coach may finally dial back the workload on Christian McCaffrey, who has set an NFL record for running backs with 103 catches and got over the 1,000-yard mark, joining LaDainian Tomlinson and Matt Forte as the only players ever to post those numbers in a season. If he gets a well-deserved week off, the most likely candidate to replace him is fourth-year back Cameron Artis-Payne, who had a seven-yard carry and a 13-yard catch last week. The Auburn product has four career TDs and is looking for his first this season. Backup Taylor Heinicke had a turnover-filled debut last week and ended up injuring his elbow, so the Panthers will have their third QB in as many weeks in Kyle Allen, once an elite recruit who played at Texas A&M and Houston before and completed all four of his passes last week in spot duty against the Falcons.

    The Saints have nothing to play for, already having clinched homefield advantage in the NFC as the No. 1 seed. Teddy Bridgewater will start instead of Drew Brees. He’s thrown one pass all season. While both teams will try and replicate their usual offensive packages and have players elated to finally get their shot, both will be operating behind backup offensive lines. The Saints have been perfect in the Superdome since a season-opening upset against Tampa Bay. Carolina is looking to avoid closing the season with an eight-game losing streak and has only won once outside Charlotte. Red-zone issues have plagued this group all year and Allen will be looking to pick up an offense that will likely be without their top weapon and has scored a season-low 19 points over a two-game span entering Sunday.

    N.Y. Jets at New England (-13.5/46.5), 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    Rookie Sam Darnold was sidelined with a foot injury when the teams met in Week 12, so this will be his first look at Bill Belichick’s defense. Josh McCown was at the controls for the Jets and had a full bye week of preparation for his second start of the season but didn’t manage much in a 27-13 loss. After becoming the youngest player ever to throw for 300 yards and three TDs in an OT loss to the Packers last week, Darnold will look to close his first season on a high note. Todd Bowles is probably done as head coach and comes in 1-6 against the Patriots, continuing a 2-14 run for the Jets against the Pats since December 2010. The Jets haven’t defeated New England at Gillette Stadium since 2008, dropping nine straight.

    With a much coveted first-round bye at stake for the Patriots, they’re going to go all out to secure a victory that would make their road back to a third straight Super Bowl far more manageable. Last week’s win over Buffalo saw them fail to cover the spread for a third straight contest but did secure double-digit wins in a season for a 16th consecutive campaign. New England will be looking to finish off a perfect 8-0 regular-season run in Foxboro and may not have tackle LaAdrian Waddle in the mix, so ensuring they keep the Jets from Tom Brady while picking up the win will be the primary motivation here. Brady threw for 283 yards and two scores against New York on Nov. 25 and will be looking to close out the season with a sharp effort where he again avoids being sacked as he managed in Week 12. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30’s, but winds shouldn’t be a factor.

    Detroit at Green Bay (-8/45.5), 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    The Packers demonstrated last week that they’re up for playing for pride, rallying to survive the Jets in overtime as Aaron Rodgers put his body on the line in showing off the wheels to fuel the comeback with a couple of late touchdown runs. He’s moving much better than he did earlier in the season and will likely have tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga in place. Top WR Davante Adams is also questionable, but if the Packers declare everyone available, there’s certainly motivation to finish strong since they’re looking for a 6-1-1 finish at Lambeau Field. Temperatures will be frigid and winds will be a factor, but the Packers are looking to avoid their fourth consecutive loss to the Lions after dropping the first meeting this season 31-23 to drop a third straight, something that hadn’t occurred in this one-sided series since 1991. Detroit is looking for back-to-back sweeps for the first time since 1982 and ’83.

    The Lions are without DE Ziggy Ansah again after being without him for the first meeting and have major absences in the secondary with Nevin Lawson and Jamal Agnew ruled out. Top corner Darius Slay and safety Glover Quin will look to keep Rodgers from finishing with a career-high in passing yards for a single season if he throws for 228 here. Detroit scored 24 or more points in five of its first six games but have failed to top that total in each of its last nine, scoring under 20 in seven of its games. Matthew Stafford threw for two touchdowns against Green Bay in Week 5 but has only thrown for multiple scores in one of his last eight games and has failed to reach the end zone in three of his last five. Not surprisingly, the Lions have seen the ‘under’ prevail in eight of nine contests.

    Jacksonville at Houston (-7/40), 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Texans are likely going to be playing next weekend but want to ride into the postseason fresh off a division title and can guarantee avoiding the Chargers with a victory here, likely ensuring a matchup with an AFC South rival they’ll know well since the Colts and and Titans are playing for a bid on Sunday night. If Houston loses, it could find itself on the road in Indy or Nashville, so count on seeing all hands on deck. WR Demaryius Thomas was lost to an achilles injury, so getting rookie Keke Coutee back in the fold would help. RB Lamar Miller will be back from an ankle sprain suffered a few weeks ago, which means Deshaun Watson can count on a loaded backfield behind him. WR DeAndre Hopkins was limited all week due to an ankle sprain but should be out there dueling with Jalen Ramsey.

    The Jaguars played spoiler against the Dolphins last week thanks to a strong defensive effort and will be looking for consecutive wins for the first time since opening 2-0. Ramsey’s tag-team partner in the secondary, A.J. Bouye, has been ruled out due to a toe injury, but safety Tashaun Gipson (foot) will participate. Corner D.J. Hayden is questionable with a groin strain. Offensively, Blake Bortles should be back under center instead of the ineffective Cody Kessler, but RB Leonard Fournette (ankle) isn’t likely to go and Carlos Hyde (knee) is questionable, which means T.J. Yeldon should get the bulk of the work in the backfield. Bortles is 1-3 with a passer rating of 56.7 in four career games in Houston. The Texans are 1-1-1 ATS as a favorite of a touchdown or more.

    Atlanta (-2/51.5) at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. ET, FOX:
    The Bucs would love to drag the Falcons into the NFC South basement, snapping a three-game losing streak in the process. The Falcons hope to close with three consecutive wins, sweeping Tampa Bay for the season. Matt Ryan threw for three TDs and 355 yards in a 34-29 Week 6 win, outdueling Jameis Winston’s four touchdown passes. Julio Jones caught 10 balls and will be looking to add to his gaudy receiving numbers, while rookie Calvin Ridley could reach double-digits in TD receptions if he gets into the end zone. Ryan’s job will be a lot easier if Jason Pierre-Paul can’t go since he and William Gholston are questionable and edge-rusher Carl Nassib has been ruled out. Temperatures will get into the 80s for this one, so conditioning and depth will count for this unusually hot Week 17 clash.

    Miami at Buffalo (-5/39.5), 1 p.m. ET, CBS:
    This game was rendered meaningless when the Jaguars got out of South Florida with a turnover-fueled upset, so it remains to be seen how much fight the Dolphins will have as they wake up to snow flurries in Northern New York. In-game weather isn’t expected to include snow, but both teams will have to survive wind gusts that could climb as high as 40 miles per hour. This should definitely favor the Bills, who have won five of six at home in this series. Rookie Josh Allen will look to cap a promising first season in which he leads the Bills in rushing in passing.

    Miami looks to finish 8-8 here and will employ everyone healthy enough to help them get it done. It remains to be seen whether everyone is still as willing to put in a solid three hours of work once they get a load of how cold and uncomfortable the weather will be. Head coach Adam Gase’s ability to get his guys to put in the effort for him may dictate whether he keeps his job. QB Ryan Tannehill has thrown for nine touchdowns against just two interceptions since returning to the starting lineup. He threw for three scores in a 21-17 win over Buffalo on Dec. 2.

    Oakland at Kansas City (-14/52.5), 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Chiefs closed as a 14-point favorite against the Raiders in Oakland back in Week 13 and prevailed 40-33, giving up a late scoring flurry to avoid securing the cover. They’re looking for an easier time of it at Arrowhead as they look to wrap up the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC and a West Division title. Avoiding taking a three-game into the payoffs would be nice too since it would guarantee that they’ll get to watch everyone else play next weekend instead of suiting up themselves. Kansas City is looking to finish 7-1 at Arrowhead by beating the Raiders at home for the sixth straight time.

    Derek Carr has had a rough time of it but will look to finish off the season without an interception for a 12th consecutive week, bringing a streak of 325 passes without being picked into this finale. He’ll have a number of willing targets in Jordy Nelson, Seth Roberts, rookie Marcel Ateman and tight end Seth Roberts, so count on the Kansas City secondary having its hands full. Eric Berry isn’t likely to play, so the Raiders cold make this game interesting if they have success through the air. Patrick Mahomes will try and close out his MVP campaign by finishing up a December in which he’s thrown for over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns. RB Damien Williams, Kansas City’s third starter at the position this season, has topped 100 yards rushing in consecutive weeks and just signed a two-year extension.

    Philadelphia (-6/42) at Washington, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX:
    The Eagles will need to take care of business here and get help from the Bears in Minnesota in order to defend their Super Bowl title in the actual postseason, so they’re looking like a longshot. On the bright side, it’s surprising that they’re even in this mix given how bleak things looked when they fell to the Cowboys for a second time on Dec. 9. With Carson Wentz lost for the season, Nick Foles has led Philadelphia to a shocking upset of the Rams in L.A. and last week’s 32-30 rollercoaster ride of a home win over the Texans. Foles’ emergence has sparked Alshon Jeffery, while veteran RB Darren Sproles has come up clutch in what could be his final weeks as a pro. Despite being on the road, the defending champs are a substantial favorite in Landover against a Redskins’ team on their fourth starting quarterback.

    Weather isn’t expected to be a factor, so Foles should be able to let it fly as he looks to follow up a 471-yard effort against the Texans, against whom he threw four touchdown passes. The ‘Skins will be without safety D.J. Swearinger, the latest to fall in a cursed season for a team that has lost both starting tight ends while suffering through issues up front and at receiver. Running back Adrian Peterson has been a bright spot and broke off a 90-yard run in the first matchup with the Eagles, a 28-13 loss on Dec. 3. Philadelphia will have Jason Peters and Jason Kelce available to anchor the offensive line and have one of the stronger defensive fronts in all of football to get after Josh Johnson.

    Cleveland at Baltimore (-6.5/40.5), 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS:
    Although the Ravens only need to win to eliminate their arch rival Steelers while reclaiming an AFC North that they haven’t won since 2012, these aren’t the same old Browns they’re used to pushing around who are taking the field against them. Baltimore had won 18 of 20 before losing 10-7 in OT at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Oct. 7. If it can avoid being swept by Cleveland for the first time since ’07, it will open the playoffs right back at M&T Bank Stadium next weekend, hosting a playoff game for the first time since ’12.

    Rookie Lamar Jackson has only lost once since taking over as the starter, while top pick Baker Mayfield has similarly won five of six and finds himself thriving under the play-calling of new coordinator Freddie Kitchens. Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were still employed when the Browns took down the Ravens. For that matter, so was Joe Flacco. This will be a chess match where Gregg Williams’ aggressive defense will look to bait Jackson into mistakes while being careful with all their trademark blitzes not backfiring with the speedy quarterback running right by them. The physical Ravens will look to harass Mayfield, who has thrown for six touchdowns while being intercepted only once during a three-game winning streak that has the Browns on the brink of their first winning season since 2007.

    Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-14.5/45.5), 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS:
    The Steelers find themselves in the precarious position of missing the playoffs for the first time since ’13 due to losses in four of five. This stretch has come on the heels of six consecutive wins, but the bottom has fallen out due to careless turnovers and shockingly stupid in-game decisions from people who should know better, namely Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger. Although rookie backup Jaylen Samuels has been productive, James Conner’s production has been missed. He’ll return from a foot injury that has cost him multiple games, but WR Antonio Brown and his 15 touchdowns could be missing due to a knee injury. The decision will come closer to kickoff, but reports aren’t optimistic. JuJu Smith-Schuster, fresh off a costly fumble that helped prevent OT in New Orleans last Sunday, would be Roethlisberger’s top target if Brown can’t go.

    The Bengals have been without top targets A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd for weeks. They’ll come into this one with most of their top defensive players sidelined, so it’s no surprise they have lost six of seven. It remains to be seen whether this disastrous season finally costs Marvin Lewis his job, but there isn’t much hope that they’ll be able to hang here despite the fact they only lost 28-21 in the first meeting. Temperatures are expected to be in the 30s but winds shouldn’t be a factor.

    Chicago at Minnesota (-5.5/40.5), 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX:
    - Outside of Sunday night’s Colts-Titans showdown, this is the lone matchup where both teams are playing to improve their playoff standing. While those two are playing a winner-take-all to see who gets in, the Bears are looking to secure a No. 2 seed with help from the 49ers and the Vikings are attempting to solidify their spot in the NFC’s top-six. If Chicago sees that events out in the Bay Area aren’t going its way, it’s conceivable that key players could find themselves rested in the second half of this one, which makes backing the visitors dicey. WR Allen Robinson has already been ruled out, while safety Eddie Jackson and linebacker Aaron Lynch are considered doubtful.

    The Vikings don’t have the luxury of resting anyone, which is why banged-up corner Xavier Rhodes is likely to play if at all possible. Leading tackler Eric Kendricks, corner Marcus Sherels and safety Andrew Sendejo remain out, so the Bears have an opportunity to build some confidence on the offensive side of the ball after scoring only 14 points against San Francisco last Sunday. Chicago has allowed just 10.7 points over its past three games, all wins that have gone ‘under’ the posted total. The Bears won the first meeting 25-20 in a contest that featured six turnovers, putting them in position to sweep Minnesota for the first time since ’12. The Viking has have won six of eight in the series.

    L.A. Chargers (-6.5/43) at Denver, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS:
    - The Broncos come off an awful 27-14 loss in Oakland on Christmas eve and can’t even finish at .500, which likely means that Vance Joseph will be fired in the morning regardless of what happens in this final home game. LB Shane Ray may play, but the team’s biggest bright spot, rookie Pro Bowl RB Phillip Lindsey, will miss the game with a wrist injury. Receiver Emmanuel Sanders also played a large role in Denver’s 23-22 upset on Nov. 18 and is currently sidelined, which is one reason Case Keenum has struggled down the stretch.

    That upset loss has the Chargers behind the Chiefs due to a divisional record tiebreaker since the teams split their matchups, so they’ll certainly have revenge on their minds. L.A. has only won three of the last 14 meetings between the teams but will be going all out to try and gain a split in order to get to 12-4. Philip Rivers is coming off a rough night in a home loss to Baltimore that produced his worst performance of the season, so he’s got to be pleased to get another crack at finding a rhythm without weather being too significant a factor at Mile High. Although temperatures will be in the mid-30’s, neither wind nor snow is expected to be an issue.

    Arizona at Seattle (-13.5/38), 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX:
    - The Seahawks can still get bumped to No. 6 in the NFC by the Vikings, but having wrapped up a playoff berth through Sunday night’s huge win over the Chiefs mean they can exercise caution against a team that has been outscored 88-26 over the last three games and will finish with the NFL’s worst record if they falter here. That could spell trouble in covering such a large spread, but Pete Carroll always plays to win and will have the majority of his team available and ready to go.

    San Francisco at L.A. Rams (-10.5/48.5), 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX:
    - Todd Gurley has been ruled out, but the Rams still want to pick up this victory to lock up the No. 2 seed in order to avoid playing next weekend. Jared Goff got back on track in a 31-9 victory at Arizona and will be facing a talented defense that had helped pull off upsets against Denver and Seattle before holding the Vikings to just 14 points in a game they could’ve also won. The Rams won 39-10 in Santa Clara back on Oct. 21 and will be the healthier group here, so it’s no surprise to see a double-digit spread.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 12-30-2018 at 12:47 PM.

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    NFL Weather Alert

    Cold temps are in the forecast for Lambeau Field this afternoon for #OnePride at #GoPackGo.
    Air temperatures in the mid-20's with 15 MPH winds will produce wind chill temps in the teens.
    Pointspread: Packers -8
    Total: 45.5



    NFL Injuries

    According to reports, Titans' quarterback Marcus Mariota (stinger) is NOT expected to play in Sunday night's "win and you're in" game vs. the Colts.
    Blaine Gabbert will get the start if the reports are correct.
    Pointspread: Colts -4
    Total: 44


    According to reports, Cowboys' running back Ezekiel Elliott (rest) is not expected to play today @ Giants.
    Pointspread: Giants -6.5
    Total: 40.5


    According to reports, Steelers' running back James Conner (ankle) is expected to return and see a full workload today vs. the Bengals.
    Pointspread: Steelers -14
    Total: 45

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    Cowboys team sources tell me they will rest RB Ezekiel Elliott today. Expect backups Darius Jackson and Rod Smith to split reps instead against the Giants. RG Zack Martin also not expected to play ahead of playoffs

    New Orleans QB-Drew Brees-OUT

    Chicago Bears QB If the Bears were locked into the No. 3 seed in the NFC, without a shot at No. 2, quarterback Mitch Trubisky likely would be sitting against the Vikings on Sunday. But it seems as if he’d be begging to play.

    Los Angeles Rams RB-Todd Gurley II-OUT
    Common sense is not so common.
    “You can have everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want out of life.” Zig Ziglar

    Sports Matchups



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    “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.”
    ― Dr. Seuss


    “a soft answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1)


    We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.


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    Betting Recap - Week 17
    Joe Williams

    Overall Notes

    National Football League Week 17 Results
    Wager Favorites-Underdogs
    Straight Up 12-4
    Against the Spread 8-8

    Wager Home-Away
    Straight Up 8-8
    Against the Spread 6-10

    Wager Totals (O/U)
    Over-Under 8-8

    National Football League Year-to-Date Results
    Wager Favorites-Underdogs
    Straight Up 167-87-2
    Against the Spread 113-133-10

    Wager Home-Away
    Straight Up 153-101-2
    Against the Spread 120-126-10

    Wager Totals (O/U)
    Over-Under 119-135-2

    The largest underdogs to win straight up
    Lions (+7.5, ML + ) at Packers, 31-0
    Panthers (+7.5, ML + ) at Saints, 33-14
    Cowboys (+7, ML + ) at Giants, 36-35
    Bears (+6, ML + ) at Vikings, 24-10

    The largest favorite to cover
    Chiefs (-14) vs. Raiders, 35-3
    Patriots (-14) vs. Jets, 38-3
    Chargers (-7) at Broncos, 23-9
    Texans (-7) vs. Jaguars, 20-3

    Buy Byes

    -- In Week 17 it was time to buy teams playing for byes. The New England Patriots (-14) routed the New York Jets to earn the No. 2 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. The Kansas City Chiefs (-14) weren't about to falter, spanking the Oakland Raiders by a 35-3 count to not leave any doubt. The Los Angeles Rams (-10.5) were also able to lock up a first-round bye with a 48-32 victory against the San Francisco 49ers, although the Niners did make them work for it.

    Saint Nick

    -- The Philadelphia Eagles might not be able to afford QB Nick Foles past these playoffs, but thanks to him they're able to at least qualify and get a chance to defend their Super Bowl title. Foles led the Eagles to their third consecutive victory, an easy cover (-6) on the road against the Washington Redskins. It was reported during the week that the Redskins, decimated by injury, actually had as many as 13 players on their roster who had never played a regular-season game at FedEx Field before. Easy money, and a late present from Saint Nick.

    Total Recall

    -- The game with the highest total on the board was the Oakland Raiders-Kansas City Chiefs (53.5), but the Raiders didn't live up to their end of the bargain. They managed a lone field goal as the total never even came close in the 35-3 K.C. victory. The other two games with 50-plus totals on the board, the Atlanta Falcons-Tampa Bay Buccaneers (52) and San Francisco 49ers-Los Angeles Rams (50) easily hit the over.

    -- There were three games on the board with totals in the 30's -- Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants (38.5), Miami Dolphins-Buffalo Bills (39.5) and the Jacksonville Jaguars-Houston Texans (39.5). The Cowboys and Giants each nearly made the total go over on their own, as Dallas outlasted New York 36-35. The Bills were able to take care of the over in their game, dropping a season-high 42 points in their victory over the Dolphins. As for the Texans, well they were busy securing the AFC South and locking down the Jags' offense, but they didn't pile up the numbers in the 20-3 win.

    -- The 'over' was 1-0 in the final week, as Indianapolis Colts-Tennessee Titans (42.5) ended up connecting with 50 total points. Overall for the 2018 season the 'over' in primetime games ended up 26-25 (51.0%), the lowest percentage of 'over' results since 2015.

    Officially, the 'over' finished 25-23-1 (52.1%) in 49 games under the lights in 2017.

    In 2016, the 'over' in night games went (52.9%) through 51 games.

    In 2015, the over finished 20-28-1 (41.7%) in 49 primetime games.

    In 2014, the over went 33-17 (66.0%) in primetime games, and the over was 28-22 (56.0%) in 2013.

    Injury Report

    -- Bears WR Anthony Miller (shoulder) reportedly had his shoulder pop out, and he was unable to return. His status for next weekend's wild-card game against Philly is up in the air.

    -- Eagles QB Nick Foles (chest) checked out in the second half in Washington with a chest injury, although the Eagles said after the game he is expected to be fine for next weekend's wild-card game in Chicago.

    Looking Ahead

    -- The Colts and Texans each won on each other's field during the regular season. Indianapolis enters 6-0 ATS in the past six against winning teams while going 4-1 ATS in the past five road games against a team with a winning home record. However, they're 1-4 ATS in the past five playoff road games. For the Texans, they're 4-1 ATS in the past five at home, and 4-1 ATS in the past five inside the division, too. However, they're 1-5 ATS in the past six against winning teams.

    -- Indianapolis is 5-0-1 ATS in the past six trips to Houston, while going 8-3-2 ATS in the past 13 meetings overall. The underdog is 5-2-2 ATS in the past nine meetings, with the road team 7-1-2 ATS in the past 10 in this series.

    -- The Seahawks are 5-1 ATS in their past six against winning teams, while going 4-1 ATS in the past five on the road. They're also 8-3-1 ATS in the past 12 overall. However, they have covered just one of the past six in the playoffs. For the Cowboys, they're 6-1 ATS in the past seven against NFC clubs, while going 6-2 ATS in the past eight overall. They are 3-8 ATS in the past 11 in the playoffs, however, and 1-4 ATS in the past five playoff games at home.

    -- The Ravens beat the Chargers on the road 22-10, a key victory in their march to the AFC North title. The Chargers won on the road in Week 17, and are 21-8-1 ATS in the past 30 on the road overall. They're also 6-2 ATS in the past eight playoff games. For Baltimore, they have covered seven straight in the postseason, and five straight in the wild-card round.

    -- The defending champion Eagles are 4-1 ATS in the past five overall, and they're 6-2 ATS in the past eight playoff road outings. However, they're just 1-4 ATS in the past five in the wild-card round. The Bears finished the season with four straight covers, and they're 7-0-1 ATS in the past eight at home against teams with a winning road mark. They're also 16-4-1 ATS in the past 21 at home and 5-2 ATS in the past seven against winning teams.

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    NFC Wild Card Notes

    Saturday, January 5, 2019

    NFC – Seattle at Dallas – 8:15 p.m. (FOX)

    Opening Line (12/30/18): Dallas -3, 41 ½


    Seattle Road Record: 4-4 SU, 4-3-1 ATS
    Dallas Home Record: 7-1 SU, 5-2-1 ATS

    Head-to-Head:
    The Seahawks and Cowboys hooked up at CenturyLink Field in Week 3 as Seattle took care of Dallas, 24-13 as one-point favorites. It was Seattle's first win of the season following an 0-2 start as Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes for the Seahawks. Seattle jumped out to a 24-6 lead before Dallas scored its only touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

    The Cowboys have lost each of the last three matchups with the Seahawks since 2015, while these teams last met in the playoffs in the famous Tony Romo fumble on the snap of the potential game-winning field goal in a 21-20 loss in the 2006 Wild Card round.

    Playoff Notes:
    The Seahawks are back in the playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven seasons after missing the postseason in 2017. Seattle owns a perfect 3-0 record in its previous three Wild Card contests since 2012, while not losing in its first playoff game during this stretch.

    Dallas is making its third playoff appearance since 2014, as the Cowboys were knocked out in the divisional playoffs by the Packers in the final seconds in 2016. In its previous appearance in the Wild Card round in 2014, the Cowboys edged past the Lions, 24-20, but failed to cash as six-point favorites.

    Total Notes:
    After starting the season with a 5-2 mark to the 'under,' the Cowboys finished with 'overs' in five of the final nine contests. Dallas hit the 'over' in five of eight games at AT&T Stadium, while going 4-2 to the 'over' as a home favorite.

    The Seahawks were also a strong 'under' team to start the season by cashing in six of the first eight games. However, Seattle closed with 'overs' in seven of the last eight contests, including 'overs' in its final three road affairs.


    Sunday, January 6, 2019

    NFC – Philadelphia at Chicago – 4:40 p.m. (NBC)

    Opening Line (12/30/18): Chicago -5 ½, 42


    Philadelphia Road Record: 4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS
    Chicago Home Record: 7-1 SU, 7-1 ATS

    Head-to-Head:
    The Eagles and Bears didn't match up this season, but Philadelphia destroyed Chicago in 2017 at Lincoln Financial Field, 31-3. Chicago has lost three consecutive meetings with Philadelphia since 2013, while these clubs last dueled in the playoffs back in 2001. The Eagles cruised past the Bears at Soldier Field, 33-19 to advance to the NFC Championship.

    Playoff Notes:
    Chicago finished at the bottom of the NFC North in the previous four seasons prior to capturing the division title in 2018. The Bears last reached the playoffs in 2010 when they advanced to the NFC Championship before falling to the rival Packers. Chicago last participated in the Wild Card round back in 1994 when it routed Minnesota, as the Bears own a 4-5 record in the playoffs the last 25 seasons.

    The Eagles picked up their first Super Bowl title last season by knocking off the Patriots, while winning all three games as an underdog. Philadelphia has lost in past three opportunities in the Wild Card round since 2009, while last playing a road playoff game in 2009 against Dallas in a 34-14 defeat.

    Total Notes:
    The Eagles posted a 9-7 mark to the 'under,' while going 5-3 to the 'over' away from Lincoln Financial Field. During last season's Super Bowl run, Philadelphia cashed the 'over' in two of three victories.

    Chicago closed the season with four consecutive 'unders,' as the Bears limited those four opponents to 17 points or less in each contest. The total was a toss-up at Soldier Field as the Bears went 4-4 to the 'over,' but Chicago allowed 22 points or less in seven of eight home games.

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    Ravens favored, but book likes Chargers' odds in NFL wild-card round
    Patrick Everson

    Lamar Jackson and Baltimore held on for a Week 17 win over Cleveland to claim the AFC North and punch their playoff ticket. The Ravens opened -2.5 for a Sunday home game against the Chargers.

    After a wild 17 weeks of regular-season play, it’s time to look ahead to wild-card weekend in the NFL. We check in on the opening lines and early action for next weekend’s four playoff games, with insights from Derek Wilkinson, supervisor at The SuperBook at Westgate in Las Vegas.

    Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)

    Los Angeles tied for the best record in the AFC, yet is the No. 5 seed and on the road to open the postseason. The Chargers (12-4 SU, 9-7 ATS), who lost a tiebreaker to Kansas City for the AFC West title, finished the regular season with a 23-9 victory at Denver as 7-point favorites.

    Baltimore won six of its last seven games to overtake Pittsburgh and win the AFC North, earning the No. 4 seed in the process. The Ravens (10-6 SU, 8-8 ATS) had to win Sunday to reach the playoffs and got a huge scare, thwarting a Cleveland rally to win 26-24 as 7-point home faves.

    “This is a situation where we like the ‘dog,” Wilkinson said. “We initially discussed having the game as a pick or even favoring the Chargers by a point, but the other markets like the Ravens. I think this line will drop quickly and could even favor the Chargers by game day.”

    Kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. ET Sunday.

    Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (-2.5)

    Dallas had nothing to play for in Week 17, stuck in the No. 4 slot for the NFC playoffs. But the Cowboys (10-6 SU, 9-7 ATS) went out and played anyway, only holding out Ezekiel Elliott, and edged the New York Giants 36-35 as 7.5-point road underdogs.

    Seattle went on a 6-1 SU run to cap the regular season and nab a wild-card spot as the No. 5 seed. In Week 17, the Seahawks (10-6 SU, 9-5-2 ATS) let Arizona hang around the whole game, but claimed a 27-24 win laying 14 points at home.

    “We opened on the low end of the market here, because we like Seattle,” Wilkinson said of this 8:15 p.m. ET Saturday meeting. “Most of the market is at -2.5 (-120) or -3. I think the sharp money will be on the Seahawks, but the line will probably move toward Dallas, because of too much public money.”

    Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (no line)

    Chicago enters the postseason as the No. 3 seed after winning the NFC North title. The Bears (12-4 SU and ATS), the No. 1 spread-covering team in the NFL, dropped Minnesota 24-10 as 6-point road pups in Week 17.

    Defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia took it right down to the Week 17 wire, but got back into the playoffs as a wild card with the No. 6 seed. The Eagles (9-7 SU, 7-9 ATS) blanked Washington 24-0 giving 6 points on the road.

    However, Philly quarterback Nick Foles suffered a rib injury late in the game. That prompted The SuperBook to hold off on posting this line, until Foles’ status is clarified for this Sunday contest with a 4:40 p.m. ET start.

    “I think it’ll open around Bears -6 and the line will go up,” Wilkinson said. “The Bears are a much better team than Philly, and they’re at home.”

    Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-2.5)

    It’s likely that nobody is looking forward to facing Indianapolis in the playoffs, with Frank Reich’s squad on a 9-1 SU tear (6-3-1 ATS) en route to the No. 6 seed. The Colts ended the regular season in a winner-take-all game at Tennessee and posted a 33-17 victory as 6-point favorites.

    After losing its first three games, Houston went on a 9-0 SU run (6-3 ATS) to get back on track. Despite a 2-2 mark in the last four weeks, the Texans (11-5 SU, 7-8-1 ATS) won the AFC South and the No. 3 seed. Houston finished with a 20-3 win over Jacksonville as 7-point home faves.

    “This is another one where anticipate the ‘dog covering or winning outright,” Wilkinson said of this 4:35 p.m. ET Saturday matchup.

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