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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.

WATCH: Seahawks’ Paul Richardson pulls in absurd touchdown catch against Lions

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It took until the first round of the playoffs, but we may finally have our winner for catch of the year.

On 4th and goal at the Lions’ 2, Russell Wilson lobbed up a pass to Paul Richardson, who was completely covered by Tavon Wilson.

Richardson stuck out his left hand and pulled in a miraculous grab to give Seattle the lead.

[Watch the rest of the second half from Seattle on NBC Sports Live]

Simply amazing.

 

Seahawks, Texans are the betting favorites for Saturday’s Wild Card games

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The Seattle Seahawks’ sporadic scoring output is something to consider when looking at the big point spread against the Detroit Lions. The Seahawks are listed as eight-point favorites against the Lions in their NFC wild card matchup set for Saturday at CenturyLink Field, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Seahawks are 7-0 straight-up in their last seven home games against teams from the Eastern Time Zone and the Lions are 2-5 against the spread in their last seven road games. However, Seattle scored 10 or fewer points four times at home this season, and none of those instances came against a premier defense.

The Lions, 9-7 SU and 8-8 ATS, are coming into the playoffs on a three-loss skid. One boon to the Lions’ chances is that the Seahawks, without free safety Earl Thomas, have been hopeless at stopping deep passes. Quarterback Matthew Stafford should be able to hit a few deep shots to the likes of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and T.J. Jones in order to compensate for a nearly nonexistent running game. That could help the Lions, who are 0-8 SU in their last eight playoff games, make it interesting.

The Seahawks, 10-5-1 SU and 7-8-1 ATS, have never lost at home in the playoffs during the Pete Carroll/Russell Wilson era. One can reasonably expect they will find some of their familiar postseason form. Seattle’s pass protection and run blocking has been problematic, so there could be opportunities to disrupt Wilson’s timing. Otherwise, WR Doug Baldwin and TE Jimmy Graham could have big nights.

The total has gone under in eight of the Lions’ last 10 games. The total has gone over in five of the Seahawks’ last six games in the playoffs.

Elsewhere, the Houston Texans are listed as four-point favorites against the Oakland Raiders in Saturday’s AFC wild card matchup.

The Raiders, 12-4 SU and 10-6 ATS, will have rookie third-stringer Connor Cook become the first NFL QB to get his first career start in the playoffs. With Cook playing instead of Derek Carr (broken fibula), Houston might not have to honor the deep pass threat and can thus commit to containing RB Latavius Murray and limiting the damage on short-range passes to WR Amari Cooper and WR Michael Crabtree.

The fact erratic Brock Osweiler is back in at QB might account for why the Texans, who are 9-7 SU and 6-9-1 ATS, are not a bigger favorite against a hobbled team. The Raiders simply haven’t stopped anyone when teams have schemed to slow down edge rushers Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. If Osweiler can curb his tendency to be overaggressive and allow WR DeAndre Hopkins and RB Lamar Miller to have opportunities, the Texans should be able to move the ball steadily.

Keep in mind, though, that the visiting team has gone 4-0 SU and ATS in the last four editions of this matchup. The total has gone over in seven of the Raiders’ last 10 games.  The total has gone under in nine of the Texans’ last 12 games at home.