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Garoppolo, Patriots among favorites on Week 2 NFL betting slate

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With Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting quarterback, the New England Patriots are out to continue their pattern of getting a boost from winning as an underdog.

The Patriots are listed as 6.5-point favorites, with a total of 41.5, for their home opener vs. the Miami Dolphins at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. New England is 9-1 straight-up and 5-4-1 against the spread in its last 10 September home games, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. New England is 7-0 SU in its last seven games after winning as an underdog. The Dolphins are 2-6 ATS over their last eight games.

The Green Packers are 2.5-point road favorites against the Minnesota Vikings with a total of 45 for their Sunday Night Football matchup. The Packers are 10-2-1 SU in their last 13 games against Minnesota, but the Vikings are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against teams with winning records. The NFC North rivals’ last three games have gone under.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 3.5-point home favorites against the Cincinnati Bengals, with a total of 47.5. The Steelers are 5-1 SU in their last six games against Cincinnati. The Bengals are 7-0 SU and 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven September games.

The Houston Texans are two-point favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs, with a total of 43.5. The Texans are 6-2 SU and ATS in their last eight games with a closing total of 43.5 or less. The Chiefs are 10-1 SU in their last 11 games after a win. The total has gone under in Houston’s last five home games.

The Washington Redskins are favored by 3.5 points against the Dallas Cowboys, with a total of 44.5. Washington is 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five NFC East matchups. The Cowboys are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games against the Redskins. The total has gone under in five of the teams’ last seven meetings.

The New York Giants are 4.5-point favorites at home against the New Orleans Saints, with a 52.5 total, the highest of the week. The favored team is 9-1 SU in the last 10 games in this matchup. The Saints are on a run of being 10-3 ATS as an underdog. The total has gone over in six of the Giants’ last seven home games.

The Thursday Night Football matchup between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills is listed as a pick’em, with a total of 40.5. The Bills are 8-3 SU and ATS in their last 11 games after a loss. The Jets are 0-5 SU and ATS in their last five games against the Bills. The total has gone under in 10 of the Bills’ last 14 games as home favorites.

The Chicago Bears are three-point favorites against the Philadelphia Eagles with a total of 43 for their Monday Night Football matchup. The Bears are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games as a favorite of three points or more. The total has gone over in six of the Eagles’ last seven games with a closing total of 42.5 or more.

Sunday Divisional Round Matchups: Cowboys, Chiefs Both Favorites

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The dynamics for a team with a red-hot quarterback often change when they go on the road, which is why Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys are a solid favorite against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

The Cowboys are listed as 4.5-point favorites against the Packers with a 51.5-point total, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Dallas is 7-0 straight-up and 5-2 against the spread in its last seven home games, but the fact that the Packers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven playoff games as a road underdog will no doubt give bettors pause.

The Packers, who are 11-6 SU and 9-7-1 ATS, need QB Aaron Rodgers to stay in peak form to have a shot at taking down Dallas, which does happen to be 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS in its last four divisional round games.

That doesn’t leave the Packers with much margin for error, especially since WR Jordy Nelson (ribs) may not play and the Cowboys will be able to pay more attention to WR Davante Adams and Randall Cobb. Running the ball against OLB Sean Lee and Co. could also be tough for Green Bay.

The Cowboys, 13-3 SU and 10-5-1 ATS, have one of the NFL’s most balanced offenses outside of New England with the combo of Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott. Provided LT Tryon Smith is healthy and handles OLB Clay Matthews, Dallas is capable of setting the pace. The Packers’ pass defense is spotty and as a team that is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games after bye weeks, Dallas surely will have used the extra prep time to develop schemes to use WR Dez Bryant (seven TD in his last nine games).

The total has gone over in five of the Packers’ last six games on the road, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

In Sunday’s other game, the Kansas City Chiefs are listed as the 1.5-point favorite against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 44-point total.

The Steelers, 12-5 SU and 10-6-1 ATS, with QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown and RB Le’Veon Bell, are experts in staying explosive even in the type of cold weather forecast for Kansas City on Sunday.

However, thanks to FS Eric Berry, the Chiefs excel at limiting long completions, and their defense, thanks to the return and/or emergence of DE Chris Jones, OLB Justin Houston and ILB Ramik Wilson, is much improved since that embarrassing defeat.

The Chiefs, 12-4 SU and 9-7 ATS, are the more likely team to come out ahead in the all-important turnover battle. Kansas City’s M.O. offensively is misdirection and the Steelers defense, which has had a steady diet of mediocre matchups over the last two months, are prone to missing tackles.

Having to account for speedster Tyreek Hill may create some big openings for RB Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware. Quarterback Alex Smith and his offensive line have also improved at providing ball security as the season has progressed.

Kansas City coach Andy Reid is 3-0 SU in divisional round games after a bye. The total has gone under in the Chiefs’ last six games after consecutive wins.

Last year all four home teams won in the divisional round. In the last three years the visiting team is 7-3-2 ATS in the divisional round.

Saturday Divisional Round Matchups: Falcons, Patriots set as Favorites

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Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons nearly won at Seattle during the regular season, which is partially why they are a significant favorite against the Seahawks this week despite a poor playoff track record.

The Falcons are listed as five-point favorites against the Seahawks and Russell Wilson, with a 51.5-point total in their NFC Divisional Round matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Atlanta, which had a bye last weekend, is 7-2 straight-up and 6-3 against the spread in games following a bye week during Ryan’s career. However, Atlanta is just 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS in its last six playoff games according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

The Seahawks, who are 11-5-1 SU and 8-8-1 ATS, seemed to get their running game untracked during their wild card win against the Detroit Lions. Thomas Rawls figures to have an opportunity for a big day since the Falcons allow 4.5 yards per rush, the worst of any playoff team.

Wilson will not be facing an imposing pass rush, and Atlanta’s ability to cover WR Doug Baldwin and TE Jimmy Graham could be affected without CB Desmond Trufant (chest). That said, Seattle has never won a playoff game on the road as the underdog, going 0-8 SU.

The Falcons, who are 11-5 SU and 10-6 ATS, may be capable of capitalizing on Seattle’s diminished deep pass coverage now that FS Steven Terrell is replacing injured All-Pro Earl Thomas. The Seahawks’ best chance of stopping Atlanta is through blitzing Ryan with DE Cliff Avril and MLB Bobby Wagner. Star WR Julio Jones will have a tough matchup against Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, but if Ryan has protection, there should be opportunities for playmakers such as RB Devonta Freeman and WR Taylor Gabriel.

The total has gone over in the Falcons’ last six games.

On Saturday night, the New England Patriots are 15-point betting favorites against the Houston Texans, with a 44.5-point total in the AFC Divisional Round matchup. The spread is the largest in the playoffs since 1998.

The Texans, who are 10-7 SU and 7-9-1 ATS, are going from facing Oakland Raiders rookie QB Connor Cook last week to facing Tom Brady in New England. The Texans rely on a  defense which has allowed the fewest yards in the league, with CB Johnathan Joseph and CB Kareem Jackson doing a stellar job of containing the short-range passes that are Brady’s specialty.

The Patriots, who are 14-2 SU and 13-3 ATS, already defeated Houston once this season, without Brady. New England, which is 4-1 ATS in its last five games against Houston, should be able to keep a run/pass balance thanks to RB LeGarrette Blount. Houston has struggled at covering running backs on pass plays and Brady, with Dion Lewis and James White, should be able to exploit that weakness.

The total has gone over in six of the last eight games between the Texans and the Patriots. In the last two years the favored team is 2-4-2 ATS in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. Last year all four home teams won in the Divisional Round.