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Cowboys Among the Movers on Updated Super Bowl 51 Odds

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Anyone sold on the Dallas Cowboys as a title contender should act quickly, since they are rapidly moving up the Super Bowl 51 odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Dallas’ hopes last season were dashed by injuries at the skill positions, but the rookie tandem of QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott have helped the Cowboys go on a five-game win streak this season to take the NFC East lead.

The Cowboys, who are flourishing through being dominant in the rushing phase and solid defensively, are now fourth on the Super Bowl 51 odds at +1000. Dallas was back at +4000 after Week 1 of the season.

The Tom Brady-led New England Patriots maintain top odds at +300. Following this weekend, the Patriots have two major tests – a Week 8 trip to face the Buffalo Bills, who shut them out during Brady’s Deflategate ban, and a Week 10 visit from the Seattle Seahawks. Those games will affect New England’s odds.

The undefeated Minnesota Vikings and aforementioned Seattle Seahawks are the highest NFC teams on the board at +700 and +750 – possessing two of the top defenses in the league. Each team’s offense grades out poorly on the line, but both Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Minnesota’s Sam Bradford are picking up the slack through the air.

Minnesota and Seattle each play in loud home environments, and have the inside track on a first-round bye and home-field advantage in January. Only two of the last six Super Bowl champions – the 2010 Green Bay Packers and 2013 Baltimore Ravens – played in a wild-card game. Teams that secure a first-round bye stand a far greater chance of advancing.

With QB Ben Roethlisberger out after a tearing a meniscus during a loss to Miami, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ odds have gone from +750 to +1200. The Packers are also at +1200 after losing in Week 6 to fall further behind Minnesota in the NFC North standings.

The reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, who have dropped two games in a row, have seen their odds double from +1000 to +2000.

Taking control of the AFC West with a road win against the Oakland Raiders has resulted in the Kansas City Chiefs’ odds coming down to +1800 from +2800. And the Atlanta Falcons have regained some of their futures value after losing to Seattle in Week 7, with their odds rising to +1800 from +1400.

Marcus Mariota can’t even explain his historic touchdown catch

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A touchdown pass to … yourself?!

That’s exactly what happened to Titans QB Marcus Mariota in Tennessee’s incredible 22-21 Wild Card victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs were up 21-3 entering halftime and appeared to be well on their way to advancing to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, but then Mariota made history with one of the craziest plays you’ll ever see:

With the six-yard touchdown, Mariota became the first player in NFL history to record a passing and receiving TD in a playoff game.

NFL Wild Card Weekend betting lines reflect recent favorites trend

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Wild Card Weekend has been ruled by favored teams recently – on the field, if not on the board. Favored teams are 10-2 straight-up in wild card games over the last three seasons. At the sportsbooks – and this seems germane with the home teams each laying at least six points this weekend – favorites are a more modest 7-4-1 against the spread.

The 2017 playoffs saw home teams go 4-0 SU and ATS in wild card games. Eighteen of the last 28 wild card games have gone under the posted total, with one push.

The Kansas City Chiefs are listed as 9-point favorites against the Tennessee Titans with a 44-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in a Saturday matchup. The Chiefs are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven playoff games as a favorite, but QB Alex Smith has had a stronger second half of the season than Marcus Mariota, his Titans counterpart.

Tennessee, which is 5-1 ATS in its last six games against the Chiefs, could be compromised offensively if DeMarco Murray (knee) is unable to play and spell off team rushing leader Derrick Henry. The total has gone over in five of the Titans’ last seven games against the Chiefs.

The Los Angeles Rams are 6.5-point betting favorites against the Atlanta Falcons with a 48.5-point total in the late Saturday matchup. The Rams and first-time playoff QB Jared Goff are just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games. However, Los Angeles, which lost its regular-season finale against the San Francisco 49ers, is 5-0 SU in its last five games after a loss.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan, whose team is 10-3 ATS in its last 13 night games, will not have his optimal offensive line in front of him as LG Andy Levitre (triceps) is out for the season. The Rams defense, led by DT Aaron Donald, has the third-highest tally of interceptions. The total has gone under in the Falcons’ last five games.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are nine-point betting favorites against the Buffalo Bills with a 39.5-point total in a Sunday matchup between teams that had a combined 26-year playoff drought (since 1999 for the Bills; 2007 for the Jags). The visiting team is 5-1 ATS in the last six games of this matchup, but Buffalo will likely only stand a chance if RB LeSean McCoy (ankle sprain) is healthy enough to play; there is no way he will be 100 percent.

The Jaguars, who are only 4-13 SU in their last 17 home games against teams with winning records, must hope QB Blake Bortles has some recent regression out of his system. The total has gone over in the Bills’ last five games against the Jaguars.

And the New Orleans Saints are listed as seven-point favorites against the Carolina Panthers with a 48-point total in a late Sunday betting matchup. The Panthers and QB Cam Newton are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six tries against the NFC South rival Saints and also boast the NFL’s 28th-ranked passing attack while the Saints are fifth through the air (each team’s pass defense is right in the middle of the rankings).

New Orleans and veteran QB Drew Brees are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against divisional opponents, as well as 5-0 SU in their last five home playoff games. The total has gone over in six of the Panthers’ last seven games against the Saints. The total has also gone over in five of the Saints’ last six games in the wild card round.

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.