Watt, Elliott betting favorites for 2016 NFL Awards at Sportsbooks

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Houston Texans linebacker J.J. Watt has seen limited action at the team’s Offseason Team Activities after undergoing offseason surgery, but the NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year remains a strong favorite to maintain his crown in 2016 at +275 odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Watt endured an injury-plagued campaign in 2015 but remained an important part of Houston’s drive to the AFC South title, leading the NFL with 17.5 sacks, and is expected to be 100% ready for the club’s Week 1 matchup with the Chicago Bears at NRG Stadium.

Linebacker Von Miller of the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos is currently Watt’s closest competition, pegged at +600 odds to win the award.

Miller failed to duplicate his strong numbers from the 2014 regular season in last year’s campaign, racking up just 35 tackles, but played a pivotal role in the Broncos’ victory at Super Bowl 50, earning game MVP honors.

Khalil Mack (+700) is the only other DPOY candidate sporting odds under +1000. The Oakland Raiders lineman has tallied 153 tackles over his first two NFL seasons, and earned Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 14 of last season.

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly picked up the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013 and is a +1000 bet to do it again, alongside the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald, while Seattle’s Richard Sherman trails at +1500.

On the opposite side of the ball, running back Ezekiel Elliott has seen his odds of being named Offensive Rookie of the Year steadily climb of late, and he is now perched as the heavy -125 betting favorite at the sportsbooks.

Selected by the Dallas Cowboys fourth overall at the 2016 NFL Draft, Elliott enjoyed a stellar college career at Ohio State, earning Offensive MVP honors following the Buckeyes’ victory in the national championship game and running for 23 touchdowns last season.

This first overall pick, quarterback Jared Goff, sits back of Elliott in OROY betting at +650.

Selected by the freshly relocated Rams, Goff threw for 43 touchdowns and a Pac-12 conference record 4,714 yards for the California Golden Bears last season, and has been a focus at the Rams’ OTAs in the absence of veteran pivot Nick Foles.

Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson follows at +1200 on those NFL betting props, joined by Minnesota’s Laquon Treadwell, while reigning Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry is pegged at +1600, deadlocked with receivers Corey Coleman and Sterling Sheppard, and rushers Kenneth Dixon and Jordan Howard.

Defending champion Patriots among early NFL Week 1 betting favorites

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With the completion of the NFL draft, it’s a bit easier to get a handle on how teams will come out of the gate when the regular season begins in early September.

The Week 1 slate of games begins with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots listed as 7.5-point favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Tom Brady and the Patriots are 8-2 straight-up and 6-2-2 against the spread in their last 10 home games where they were favored by at least 6.5 points.

New England is 9-1 SU and 5-4-1 ATS in their last 10 home games played in September. The Chiefs are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a road underdog.

The Dallas Cowboys are favored by 5.5 points against the New York Giants in the first Sunday Night Football matchup of the season. Dallas is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games against the Giants when it was favored. The total has gone under in eight of the teams’ last 10 matchups in Dallas, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

The Atlanta Falcons, the defending NFC champion, are favored by 6.5 points on the road against the Chicago Bears in Week 1. Atlanta is 7-3 SU and 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games as a road favorite. Since 2009, the Bears are 2-6 SU as a home underdog of 4.0 or more points.

The Detroit Lions are 2.5-point favorites against the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona is 5-2 ATS in its last seven road games in September. Detroit is 8-2 SU and 5-5 ATS in its last 10 home games as a favorite of 4.0 or fewer points.

The Tennessee Titans host the Oakland Raiders in a pick’em. Oakland is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 regular-season road games. Tennessee is 3-6-1 ATS in its last 10 conference home games.

The Washington Redskins are 2.5-point favorites on the NFL point spreads for Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia is 0-3 ATS in its last three games as an underdog of 3.0 or fewer points. Washington is 4-6 SU in its last 10 divisional home games.

The Green Bay Packers are listed as three-point favorites against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle is 2-8 both SU and ATS in its last 10 road games in September. Green Bay is 7-0 SU and 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven home games against Seattle.

The Minnesota Vikings, who could potentially be facing their former star running back Adrian Peterson, are 3.5-point favorites against the New Orleans Saints in a Week 1 Monday Night Football matchup. Minnesota is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 home games. New Orleans is 6-3-1 ATS in its last 10 conference road games.

And the Denver Broncos are four-point favorites against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second Monday Night Football matchup of opening week. Los Angeles (formerly San Diego) is 1-9 SU in its last 10 divisional road games. Denver is 3-6-1 ATS in its last 10 home games against the Chargers at sports betting sites.

NFL must play its cards right when it comes to Las Vegas

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It’s official.

The NFL has approved the relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, and with the move comes the pressure the league must now face in a city that embraces its gambling and vibrant nightlife.

Not only could this cause problems for the league, which has been outspoken against gambling on sports, but it could impact its players, who now have to deal with being in and around gambling year round.

With so many questions, the NFL must embrace these realities of being a part of Sin City in the future.

PFT’s Mike Florio breaks down the NFL’s future in Sin City in the video above from the owners’ meetings in Arizona.