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Thread: NFL Trends and Indexes - Division Round (Sat., Jan. 12 - Sun., Jan. 13)

  1. #16
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    NFL WEATHER UPDATE

    A winter storm is moving through the Kansas City area with forecasts calling for temperatures around 36* with light snow (1-2 inches) with 10 MPH winds going corner to corner.
    Current odds:
    Chiefs -5
    Total 56.5

  2. #17
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    DP - Chargers at Patriots
    Kevin Rogers

    HOW THEY GOT HERE

    The Chargers (13-4 SU, 10-7 ATS) had high expectations entering their second season in Los Angeles following a 9-7 campaign. The Lightning Bolts ended 2017 by winning nine of their last 12 games with plenty of momentum heading into 2018, but L.A. stumbled to a 1-2 start. From there, the Chargers ripped off six consecutive victories, while limiting five straight opponents to 19 points or less.

    Los Angeles had an opportunity to capture the AFC West title with a late surge after shocking Kansas City in Week 15 to improve to 11-3. However, the Chargers lost at home to Baltimore in Week 16, opening up the door for the Chiefs to grab the division title and eventually the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Interestingly enough, the Chargers didn’t lose a road game outside of Los Angeles this season as the Bolts fell to the Rams in Week 3 at the Coliseum.

    The Lightning Bolts avenged a Week 16 loss to the Ravens by holding off Baltimore last Sunday, 23-17 as three-point underdogs. After kicking four field goals, Los Angeles finally reached the end zone in the fourth quarter on a Melvin Gordon one-yard touchdown to give the Chargers a 20-3 advantage.

    For the 15th time in 16 seasons, the Patriots (11-5 SU, 9-7 ATS) captured the AFC East championship in spite of compiling their worst record since 2009. New England was the only team in the division to finish with a winning record in the division, while overcoming an early 1-2 start. The Patriots ripped off six consecutive victories, including high-scoring home wins over the Colts and Chiefs and a road triumph over the Bears in a three-week span.

    Two late road losses at Miami and Pittsburgh cost New England home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. However, the Patriots rebounded in the final two weeks at home with divisional wins over the Bills and Jets to pick up a first-round bye for the ninth straight season. New England closed the campaign with an 8-1 run to the UNDER, including four consecutive UNDERS at Gillette Stadium.

    WHO TO WATCH

    Philip Rivers put together another spectacular season for Los Angeles by eclipsing the 30-touchdown mark for the fourth time in six seasons by tossing 32 touchdown passes. Six of Rivers’ 12 interceptions on the season came in the final three weeks, including two against Baltimore in Week 16. Gordon finished shy of his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season by racking up 885 yards in 12 games, as the Chargers’ tailback missed three games down the stretch. Wide receiver Keenan Allen accumulated 1,196 yards through the air, but was limited to 37 yards against the Ravens last week.

    Tom Brady posted his 10th career 4,000-yard passing season with 4,355 yards, while tossing 29 touchdown passes. Amazingly, Brady threw for 300 yards or fewer in 11 of 16 games, compared to 10 efforts of 300 or more yards in 2017, when the Patriots reached the Super Bowl. Rookie running back Sony Michel put up 958 yards in his first season out of Georgia, including three 100-yard games at home. The Patriots didn’t possess a receiver that compiled more than 850 yards (Julian Edelman), while tight end Rob Gronkowski picked up 26 yards or fewer in three of his final four games of the season.

    HOME/ROAD SPLITS

    Two teams finished with 7-1 road records this season, the Saints and the Chargers. Los Angeles never owned a real home-field advantage at StubHub Center, but the Lightning Bolts closed the season with six consecutive away victories. The Chargers swept their AFC West counterparts on the highway, while winning five games in the underdog role against the Chiefs, Steelers, Seahawks, Browns, and Ravens.

    The Patriots were the lone team in the NFL that didn’t lose a home contest by going 8-0 at Gillette Stadium for the first time since 2013. Bill Belichick’s squad helped bettors by putting together a 6-2 ATS record at home, including a 3-1 ATS mark as a single-digit home favorite. Since allowing 40 points to the Chiefs in Week 6, the Patriots yielded a total of 42 points in their final four contests at Gillette.

    SERIES HISTORY

    This series has been advantage Brady over Rivers as New England is 7-1 against San Diego/Los Angeles in the last eight meetings. The lone victory for Rivers and the Chargers in this span came in 2008 at home, but Brady was sidelined due to an ACL injury.

    The two teams didn’t meet this season, but the Patriots captured the previous matchup in 2017 at Gillette Stadium, 21-13 to cash as 6 ˝-point favorites. Following an 87-yard touchdown run by Gordon midway through the first quarter, the Patriots scored the next 18 points, including three field goals by Stephen Gostkowski, who kicked four in the game.

    Since 2006, the Patriots have eliminated the Chargers twice in the playoffs. In the last matchup in the 2007 AFC Championship, the Patriots held off the Lightning Bolts, 21-12, but San Diego cashed as 14-point underdogs in the season that New England won 19 consecutive games before losing in the Super Bowl to the Giants. The Chargers were held out of the end zone that day in spite of intercepting Brady three times.

    PLAYOFF HISTORY

    The Chargers are in the playoffs for only the second time since 2010, as Los Angeles advanced to the divisional playoffs in 2013. Rivers improved to 4-0 in the Wild Card round in his career following last week’s win over Baltimore, but is 1-4 in the Divisional Playoffs. The only road win in the Divisional round came in 2007 at Indianapolis, prior to the AFC Championship loss at New England.

    The Patriots have won seven consecutive games in the Divisional round, including a 35-14 rout of Tennessee last season. New England has covered in six of those games, while last losing in this round in 2010 to the Jets. New England is seeking its eighth consecutive appearance in the AFC Championship, but the Pats will have to travel to Kansas City if they win, as they have lost their last two conference title games on the road.

    HANDICAPPER’S CORNER

    Los Angeles survived last week’s grind-it-out win at Baltimore as NFL expert Joe Nelson looks back, “Kicking woes and big turnovers have been the norm for the Chargers in big games but a lot went right as Los Angeles was victorious in a tough battle with Baltimore last week. The Chargers had a 243-229 yardage edge and won with five Mike Badgley field goals, needing to survive a tense fourth quarter as the Ravens waged a formidable comeback threat. The Chargers gained 5.0 yards per pass attempt and just 2.7 yards per rush in last week’s win and now draw a third consecutive road game, again getting an early start east coast game against a Patriots squad that has hosted a divisional round game in nine straight seasons.”

    Will this be a shootout or a defensive battle on Sunday? “The scoring numbers in the regular season were nearly identical for these teams sitting within a half-point on average on both sides of the ball. Most statistical categories paint a rather even contest with New England slightly more productive on offense and the Chargers slightly stronger on defense. The big outliers come on the sidelines with Belichick’s all-time great track record with five Super Bowl titles with a 28-11 postseason record. Anthony Lynn was a winner in his first playoff game last week, besting another head coach with an all-time great postseason record and now 22-11 in his career his win percentage comes close to Belichick,” Nelson notes.

    FUTURE ODDS

    The Patriots enter Sunday’s matchup at 5/2 odds to win the AFC Championship, while the Chargers aren’t far behind at 4/1. As far as Super Bowl odds go, New England is 6/1, while Los Angeles is 8/1. New England opened up as 4 ˝-point favorites at the Westgate Superbook, but that number has dipped to -4 at many books, while the total sits at 47 ˝.

  3. #18
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    DP- Eagles at Saints
    Tony Mejia

    Philadelphia at New Orleans (-8. 51.5), 4:40 pm ET, FOX

    To be the champ, you’ve got to beat the champs.

    Ric Flair didn’t come up with that as an original thought, but he’s gotten full credit for popularizing it, which is fair. “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man” doesn’t necessarily ring true in the NFL since you can win a Super Bowl without having to go through the reigning champion, but the Eagles managed to do exactly that last Feb. 4, dethroning New England.

    The Saints, currently the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl (5-to-2 at Westgate Superbook), adding the Eagles to their list of victims would make for a nice touch. If Philadelphia pulls off an upset, it would increase the legend of backup QB and reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles in addition to putting them one win away from another shot at a ring.

    The Rams await the winner of this final divisional playoff matchup and will either visit the Saints for a duel between the NFC’s top-scoring teams or host the Eagles for the second time in just over a month.

    Philadelphia is only alive because they survived the Rams in L.A. in Week 15 as nearly-two touchdown underdogs, won a wild game against the Texans at home the next Sunday and then blanked the overmatched Redskins while getting help from the Bears to close December. In a morbid coincidence if you’re Chicago, the fact it went into Minnesota and upset the Vikings in Week 17, set up last week’s game against the Eagles.

    Chicago kicker Cody Parkey got his game-winning field goal attempt tipped and ultimately clanked off the upright before falling harmlessly to the ground to ensure an upset, so the Eagles are clearly on their ninth life as they invade the Superdome.

    Foles executed on a fourth-down TD pass to Golden Tate to finish off a wild go-ahead drive against the NFL’s most feared defense last weekend and now looks to succeed where predecessor Carson Wentz failed. Back on Nov. 18, the Saints intercepted Philly’s franchise QB three times in a 48-7 rout, dropping the Eagles to 4-6 on the season.

    What makes the Eagles most dangerous in this return trip to the Superdome is that they’ve stared their demise in the eyes multiple times and have lived to tell about it. After getting back to .500, Wentz being lost for the season after an OT loss to the Cowboys saw the team’s odds plummet from 30-to-1 to win the NFC and 60-to-1 to repeat as champs to 150-to-1 and 300-to-1 at the Westgate Superbook.

    They’ve come all the way back by getting healthier and riding Foles’ arm, which has really produced results down the stretch. The Eagles got only a Josh Adams touchdown run in the first meeting between these teams and amassed 156 yards through the air, so head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Mike Groh have to put a more effective game plan together to face a Saints defense that is often overshadowed by Drew Brees and the flashy offense but has been great in its own right.

    Although they gave up 61 points in the final two regular-season games, the Saints went through a six-game stretch between Nov. 11-Dec. 17 where they allowed an average of 12.3 points. Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins have been tremendous up front, while the New Orleans secondary has really flourished. Philadelphia will likely try to break big plays to tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, but they’ll need to establish the running game to truly have success on the road. The Saints ranked second in the NFL in allowing just 80.2 yards per game.

    Left tackle Jason Peters was the Eagles’ biggest injury concern last week but played well through a nagging quad issue and is good to go here. The Eagles didn’t play a perfect game against the Bears last week, but did enough when it had to against an elite defense to inspire confidence that they’ll be able to execute inside a dome without the elements being a factor.

    It’s a given that the Saints will move the ball against an Eagles defense they torched so effectively that five different players scored touchdowns, which doesn’t include Brees, who threw for four. New Orleans handed the Eagles the worst loss ever suffered by a Super Bowl champ, the most lopsided setback suffered under Pederson.

    There are a number of names back from a championship-winning defense, but it hasn’t exactly been championship-caliber at all this season. Fletcher Cox remains a force up front, but a secondary that was viewed as a weakness before holding up nicely in Chicago will now get a grueling test from Brees, an effective group of receivers and running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Philadelphia will get a key body back, which you can read about below in the injury report.

    New Orleans went 6-2 at home this season, faltering in the season opener against Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Tampa Bay and a setback to Carolina in the meaningless finale. The Eagles are 5-4 on the road after winning in Chicago and are 0-2 in enclosed stadiums.

    This will be the second playoff game matching Brees and Foles. The teams met in the Wild Card round after the ’13 season in a game that kicker Shayne Graham won on a 32-yard FG at the gun after Ertz game Philadelphia the lead on a touchdown reception from Foles with 4:54 to go. New Orleans also beat Philadelphia in the divisional round of ’06 season, winning 27-24 by keeping the Eagles out of the end zone after the opening drive of the second half. All of the results of Brees’ encounters against Philly since joining the Saints are available below.

    New Orleans would prefer a lot less drama in this contest than it has had to survive through in the last two playoff matchups with the Eagles, but all that matters is getting through. For that reason, taking the points might be tempting since Philadelphia has been so hard to eliminate these past few weeks. Clearly, a fighting spirit remains. Is there anything left? The Eagles are 2-2 SU and ATS as an underdog this season.

    Philadelphia Eagles
    Projected season win total: 10.5 (Over +130, Under -150)
    Preseason odds to win NFC East: 5/7
    Odds to win NFC (Preseason/Current): 7/1 to 9/1
    Odds to win Super Bowl (Preseason/Current): 14/1 to 18/1

    New Orleans Saints
    Projected season win total: 9.5 (Over -140, Under +120)
    Preseason Odds to win NFC South: 6/5
    Odds to win NFC (Preseason/Current): 7/1 to 2/1
    Odds to win Super Bowl (Preseason/Current): 14/1 to 9/2

    FUTURES OUTCOMES/LINE MOVEMENT

    The Saints came through as the NFC South favorite, while Dallas cashed at +350 over the favored defending champion Eagles (5-to-7) to win NFC East futures. The Eagles' NFC and Super Bowl odds were actually better prior to Week 1 than they are entering this divisional playoff since they went into last week's Wild card game against the Bears at 30-to-1 to win the Super Bowl and 15-to-1 to win the NFC before seeing those odds improve to their current levels post-upset.

    As far as this matchup is concerned, the Saints opened at -10.5 at some offshores after Philadelphia upset Chicago, but most books favored New Orleans by 9. Money came in on the defending champs to knock the spread down to 7.5 earlier in the week, but most books now list the Saints as a chalk of 8/8.5. New Orleans opened at -400 on the money line and has seen that number come down to the -350 to -380 range. If you like Philly outright, a payout on a road upset at the Superdome would get you +300 to +325.

    INJURY CONCERNS

    New Orleans is healthier than it has been all season, giving talented tackle Terron Armstead (shoulder) and guard Larry Warford (knee) a clean bill of health to help protect Brees.

    The Eagles are without multiple regulars in their secondary, but that's not a new issue and the replacements who have taken their spots really stepped up last week. Reinforcements are on their way since CB Sidney Jones (hamstring) is set to return. WR Mike Wallace (ankle) is also in line to return after missing the past few weeks.

    TOTAL TALK

    Sunday afternoon's total opened at 51 or 51.5 depending on the book. It got down to 50.5 at most shops mid-week but is now back in the 51/51.5 range. There are no weather concerns to monitor since this divisional playoff will be played indoors. The 'over' has prevailed in the last two Saints games but still went just 7-9 due to totals being set so high on the NFL's third-highest scoring team. This will likely be the 14th game involving New Orelans that closes with a number higher than 50. The 'under' is 10-7 in Eagles' games..

    RECENT MEETINGS (New Orleans 6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS last eight; OVER 5-3)

    11/18/18 New Orleans vs. Philadelphia 48-7 (NO -7, 56.5)
    10/11/15 Philadelphia 39-17 vs. New Orleans (PHI -6, 49.5)
    1/4/14 New Orleans 26-24 at Philadelphia (NO +3, 54.5)
    11/5/12 New Orleans 28-13 vs. Philadelphia (NO -3, 52)
    9/20/09 New Orleans 48-22 at Philadelphia (NO -2.5, 46)
    12/23/07 Philadelphia 38-23 at New Orleans (PHI +3, 48)
    1/13/07 New Orleans 27-24 vs. Philadelphia (PHI +4.5, 48.5)
    10/15/06 New Orleans 27-24 vs. Philadelphia (NO +3, 47)
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 01-13-2019 at 12:03 PM.

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