Getty Images

Saints’ Drew Brees-Brandin Cooks connection in midseason form after 98-yard TD

Leave a comment

There’s something about Drew Brees in the Superdome that causes him to go nuts.

Brees has already been carving up the Raiders defense on Sunday and in the 3rd quarter with New Orleans backed up, he found his top receiver Brandin Cooks for a long touchdown.

How about 98 yards. Wow.

That speed by Cooks is impressive too.

Vikings, Patriots Betting Favorites for NFL Conference Championships

Leave a comment

Bettors will have to decide how much stock to put in the home-team streak in the NFL’s conference championship games.

The visiting team is 0-8 straight-up in the last eight conference championship games, as well as 0-5 against the spread in the last five. Overall the visiting teams are 6-9 SU in the NFC Championship Game over the last 15 years and 3-12 SU in the AFC Championship Game.

The Minnesota Vikings are listed as three-point road favorites against the Philadelphia Eagles with a 39-point total in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Vikings are 14-3 SU and 11-6 ATS on the year, which includes being 9-3 ATS over their last 12 games as QB Case Keenum has taken over as their leader. Keenum will need a turnover-free game. The Vikings, who are 5-2 SU and ATS as a favorite of 3.0 or fewer points since November 2015, face a challenge offensively against the Eagles’ No. 4-ranked defense and DT Fletcher Cox in a January football environment.

However, their pass protection has been strong all season and typically it doesn’t take too many steamboats for one receiver among WR Stefon Diggs, WR Adam Thielen, TE Kyle Rudolph or RB Jerick McKinnon to get open.

The Eagles, also 14-3 SU and 11-6, are underdogs by dint of having scored fewer than 20 points in three consecutive games with backup QB Nick Foles. With the divisional road win against the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games as a playoff underdog.

The Eagles’ hopes probably rest on C Jason Kelce and the offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage against Minnesota’s front four and DT Linval Joseph. Foles’ best receiver, WR Alshon Jeffery, has typically had success against Minnesota, but will face a top cover corner, Xavier Rhodes. Vikings SS Andrew Sendejo (head) is expected to play.

The total has gone under in eight of the Vikings’ last nine games on the road in January, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The total has gone under in six of the Eagles’ last seven games in January.

The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are 8.5-point favorites against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a 46-point total in the AFC Championship Game earlier on Sunday.

The Jaguars, 12-6 SU and 10-8 ATS, will be trying to defy a trend where visiting teams are 3-10 SU and 5-8 ATS in the playoffs against New England since the 2009 postseason. Getting traction in the rushing phase, where RB Leonard Fournette is facing a run defense that gave up 4.7 yards a pop (second-worst) during the regular season, will be paramount, since few teams ever successfully play catch-up against New England.

Jacksonville won’t be counting on QB Blake Bortles to have a 300-yard day, but just make high-percentage throws and convert the manageable third downs.

The Patriots are 14-3 SU and 12-5 ATS, but coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady are facing a Jaguars defense that was No. 2 overall and first against the pass by a fair margin. New England, which is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 games, relies on crossing and seam routes to generate chances for the likes of TE Rob Gronkowski, but Jacksonville is very fluid in its coverage thanks to SS Barry Church, CB A.J. Bouye, CB Jalen Ramsey and OLB Myles Jack.

The teams that have conquered New England in the playoffs have usually had a Cadillac pass rush – think 2015 Denver Broncos – and Jacksonville has that, as its regular-season tally of 55 sacks attests.

The Jaguars, however, were 26th during the regular season in opponents’ yards per carry and New England could pivot to a run-heavy offense to soften up defenders for the pass. If the Patriots use that tack and it works, it could lead to them continuing their trend of being 2-6 ATS in their last eight AFC Championship Game appearances. It could also increase the likelihood of the total finishing under.

The total has gone under in five of the Jaguars’ last seven games on the road against teams with winning records. The total has gone under in six of the Patriots’ last seven games in the conference championship round.

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.

NFL Divisional Round Odds: Falcons, Steelers highlight favorites

Leave a comment

The Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles have made some NFL betting line history on a weekend where the recent trends have seen favorites win and away teams get the cover. Of course, the Falcons match both descriptions.

Favored teams are 16-3 straight-up in the last 19 NFL divisional round games, while away teams are 9-5-2 against the spread in the last 16 games held on the second weekend of the postseason.

For the first time in playoff history, a No. 1 seed is an underdog. The Falcons are listed as three-point road favorites against the Carson Wentz-less Philadelphia Eagles with a 41-point total in a Saturday matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Atlanta is only 1-7 SU and 1-6-1 ATS in its last eight road games against the Eagles.

Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Falcons offense will need to be sharp against defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and the Eagles’ No. 4-ranked defense. The Eagles, who are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games, probably need to build a lead through running back Jay Ajayi and their ground game, rather than rely on backup quarterback Nick Foles.

Like with any game in the Northeast in January, weather, especially the wind, will be a factor. The total has gone under in nine of the Falcons’ last 12 games against the Eagles.

Meanwhile, the New England Patriots are 13.5-point favorites against the Tennessee Titans with a 47.5 total in the late Saturday matchup. Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota and his offense could have issues keeping pace with Tom Brady and the Patriots’ No. 1-ranked attack.

The Titans, who are just 7-20-1 ATS in their last 28 games after a win, will need a stronger pass rush than they usually get in order to stymie Brady, who has helped New England fashion a 9-1 ATS record in its last 10 games. New England is also 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS in its last three games as a double-digit favorite in the playoffs.

The total has gone over in six of the Titans’ last seven games on the road against the Patriots. The total has also gone over in seven of the Patriots’ last 10 home games.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are listed as 7.5-point favorites against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a 41 total in Sunday’s early matchup. The Jaguars, who boast strong head-to-head trends – try 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games on the road against the Steelers – must hope that running back Leonard Fournette can gash Pittsburgh’s 10th-ranked run defense. Relying on quarterback Blake Bortles to perform miracles is a likely non-starter.

It’s not yet confirmed that all-everything wide-out Antonio Brown will play, but he is practicing for the Steelers, who are 10-2 SU in their last 12 home games. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers have had a soap opera-like season, but they are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games at this stage of the playoffs.

The total has gone over in 18 of the Steelers’ last 25 playoff games.

And the Minnesota Vikings, second only to the Patriots on the Super Bowl 52 odds, are five-point favorites against the New Orleans Saints with a 46.5 total in the late Sunday matchup. New Orleans is only 2-7 ATS in its last nine games against Minnesota, but Drew Brees leads a No. 4-ranked offense that is complemented by a much more dynamic rushing attack than the one he had during a loss to the Vikings in Week 1 of this season.

The Vikings have changed their look since then, too, with quarterback Case Keenum taking over, but two constants are their No. 1-ranked defense and 9-2 ATS record over their last 11 games. The Vikings are also 6-2 SU in their last eight home games against teams with winning records.

The total has gone over in five of the Saints’ last seven games as an underdog. The total has also gone over in seven of the Saints’ last nine games against the Vikings.

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