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N.Y. Giants’ Victor Cruz: Josh Norman shouldn’t expect a warm welcome in New York City

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BROOKLYN — Typically at celebrity charity sporting events, the atmosphere is pretty positive where athletes are cheered for their work in communities. That wasn’t the case for Josh Norman in Brooklyn on Thursday night.

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz says that’s what the Washington Redskins’ newly-recruited cornerback should expect when he visits the Big Apple.

“He knew that coming into New York that he’s not going to get the love that he thought he would [at a charity game],” Cruz told NBC Sports.

Norman got a loud chorus of boos ringing through the Barclays Center when he was announced in attendance for the Roc Nation charity basketball game by emcee Angie Martinez. Martinez pleaded with the fans in the stadium to show some support, saying “C’mon folks, it’s for charity,” but the jeers only got louder.

The 28-year-old, who signed a five-year, $75-million deal with the Redskins this summer, has a simmering rivalry forming with Cruz’s teammate Odell Beckham Jr. which reared itself publicly again after some recent comments. Cruz, who is raring to go after nearly two seasons on the sideline, says that he’s excited to now be involved in the rivalry himself.

“It’s going to be fun playing him twice a year,” he said with a slight grin.

As for Cruz’s recovery, the 29-year-old who inspired the Giants to a Super Bowl win in 2012 is aiming to prove that he’s back to full fitness.

“I’m extremely excited to [get the season started]. I’m excited to just be out there, having a presence, running routes again…It’s great to feel like an athlete again,” he said.

While some have suggested that the odds are against Cruz in his road to recovery, he insists that he can help get the Giants back to their best.

“Feeling good, I’m running around and I’m at 100 percent…I just want to get into camp and put everything behind me and be positive,” Cruz said. “[I help bring] that leadership, the plays that I make every week. Being able to make a difference, not only for myself but for my teammates as well.”

When asked specifically about the Giants playoff chances, he confidently replied, “Absolutely, [the Giants can make playoffs].”

Giants fans will hope that both Cruz and the Giants can get back on track after years of struggling.

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.