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Kaepernick, Niners Underdogs vs. Chargers as NFL Preseason Concludes

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Colin Kaepernick, who has been the most talked about athlete in America after his sitdown protest during the national anthem, will be in at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers when the NFL preseason ends on Thursday.

From a talent standpoint, Week 4 is the least exciting stage of the preseason, as most teams will rest stars and take a last look at players on the bubble ahead of final cuts. The 49ers haven’t decided on a starting QB between Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert, and have confirmed that Kaepernick will play in their game against the San Diego Chargers.

The Chargers are listed as three-point favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with a total of 39 points. The 49ers are 6-4 both straight up and against the spread in their last 10 preseason games as road underdogs. Six of those games have gone under the posted total. San Diego, which will count on backup QB Kellen Clemens, is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five tuneup games at Qualcomm Stadium according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

With Tony Romo injured, the Dallas Cowboys have a dilemma over whether to risk injury with rookie QB Dak Prescott or get him more experience by playing on Thursday. The Cowboys are one-point underdogs against the Houston Texans, with a total of 39. Dallas already plans to sit out their entire offensive line. Houston has an all-time 5-3 ATS record in preseason games against the Cowboys. Dallas is 4-12 SU and 6-10 ATS in the preseason since 2013.

The Philadelphia Eagles are listed as four-point favorites against the New York Jets, with a total of 39. It appears unlikely that the Eagles will use rookie Carson Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick, and might in fact sit every starter except LB Mychal Kendricks.

The Jets have not ruled out playing backup QB Geno Smith, a former starter who could be sought out by a team in need of a seasoned second-stringer. The Eagles are 6-1 SU and ATS since 2013 in the preseason. New York is 3-6 SU and 3-6 ATS on the road over the last five preseasons.

The New England Patriots-New York Giants matchup will mark the last time that Tom Brady can play before serving his four-game Deflategate suspension. Still, the Patriots, who are listed as 2.5-point underdogs, don’t need Brady to prove anything, and nor do the projected winners of the AFC East need to get temporary starter Jimmy Garoppolo injured.

New England is 3-7 SU and 3-5-2 ATS versus the Giants in their annual preseason meeting. Six of those games went under the posted total. The Giants have a seasoned backup QB, Ryan Nassib, and WR Victor Cruz will likely get a lot of run as he returns from the knee injury that has cost him the last two seasons.

Veteran backup Matt Schaub has had a strong preseason, and his – well, Matt Ryan’s – Atlanta Falcons are listed at 3.5-point favorites against the Jacksonville Jaguars for Thursday night. The total is 40. Atlanta is on a 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS run at home in the preseason. Over the last five preseasons, the Jaguars are 3-6 SU and 5-4 ATS while on the road

Pederson remembers coaching start before Super Bowl

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Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson hasn’t forgotten where his journey began: High school.

Following his playing career with the Dolphins, Packers, Browns and Eagles, Pederson bypassed professional coaching jobs. Instead, he joined Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport, L.A., and quickly added an NFL-caliber playbook to the second-year program.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

This is where he learned that he loved to coach the game. He embraced his role at the school, where he would help in the cafeteria and line the field before games. “I just enjoyed that part of it,” he says. Ten seasons later, he will coach on the biggest stage in the world.

Super Bowl LII Prop Bets

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Oddsmakers have Super Bowl LII covered from every angle, and that includes the halftime show. There is all manner of betting speculation around Justin Timberlake being the featured halftime show performer, 14 years after the infamous “Nipplegate” incident with Janet Jackson at Super Bowl XVIII.

With the game in Minneapolis, hometown of Prince, it seems obvious that JT will cover a song by the Twin Cities’ favorite son, which pays out at -140 on the Super Bowl LII props at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The total on Janet Jackson references is 1.5, with the over at even money; it’s hard to think Al Michaels could resist one mention.

The Philadelphia Eagles, with Nick Foles, are the first team in 27 years to reach the Super Bowl after losing their starting quarterback in December. It’s -150 on injured Carson Wentz being mentioned more than 3.5 times.

But oddsmakers also clearly expect the announcers to build a storyline around the New England Patriots, as it’s -130 for separate props on whether owner Robert Kraft or coach Bill Belichick will be mentioned or shown on-screen before their Eagles counterparts, Jeff Lurie and Doug Pederson respectively. Belichick is -125 to wear a blue shirt at kickoff time, since he wore that color during New England’s past two Super Bowl shows.

More than half of Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks and Tom Brady is a -110 favorite while Nick Foles comes back at +350. It would probably take something on order of a three-touchdown day to wrest the honor from the winning QB, so both the Patriots’ Dion Lewis (+1800) and Eagles’ Jay Ajayi (+1800) are worthy darkhorse picks.

History is not on the side of Rob Gronkowski (+900) since a tight end has never been the game MVP, but Gronk does offer immense value at +400 to score the first Patriots touchdown.

It is +300 on any quarterback passing for 400 or more yards. The strength of the Eagles defense and the run-pass balance of Philadelphia’s offense makes that result look far-fetched.

There was no Gatorade bath for Belichick after Super Bowl LI, which the Patriots won in overtime, but he was doused with orange Gatorade after Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. It is +225 that the liquid poured on the winning coach will be either green, lime or yellow, with +250 for orange, +275 for red and +275 for clear/water.

Clear and orange have been the result four times apiece in the last 15 occurrences and red has not come up. Purple (+1000) has also been used four of the last 15 times and it would be ironic if it happens again, since that is the color of the host Vikings.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.