NFL Week 9 lines: Falcons, Raiders, Seahawks all primetime favorites

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Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons’ scoring machine stand a good shot at breaking an against-the-spread drought against Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The NFC South-leading Falcons are the three-point road favorite against the Buccaneers in the Thursday Night Football matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The OddsShark NFL Database reveals that Atlanta is riding a dubious streak of being 0-7 against the spread in its last seven games as a favorite of three or fewer points.

Ryan and WR Julio Jones are facing a Buccaneers defense that yields 8.0 yards per pass (sixth-worst in the NFL). Winston is 3-0 in his career against Atlanta. However, the second-year QB has plateaued in recent weeks and did not get on the same page with WR Mike Evans during a Week 8 defeat against Oakland. The favored team is 19-3 straight-up in the last 22 games of this matchup.

The Oakland Raiders are the one-point favorite against the Denver Broncos in an AFC West first-place showdown on Sunday Night Football. Derek Carr and the Raiders’ productive offense face their biggest challenge of the season. The Broncos’ defense, buoyed by sack-happy OLB Von Miller, allows an NFL-low 5.7 yards per pass. Denver’s offense with first-year starting QB Trevor Siemian has been inefficient.

The Baltimore Ravens are the 2.5-point favorite against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That line will move, subject to the Steelers’ QB situation – either Ben Roethlisberger (torn meniscus) coming back from an injury, or backup Landry Jones. The Ravens have beat the Steelers three times in a row at home and have key starters such as OLB Terrell Suggs, WR Steve Smith and LT Ronnie Stanley back following a bye week.

The New York Giants are favored by three points against the Philadelphia Eagles. New York will need to neutralize DT Fletcher Cox to make the Eagles honor the run and open up downfield pass routes for WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shephard. The Giants’ rebuilt defense is fourth-best in yards per pass allowed and will pose a challenge for Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz. Whichever team fixes its third-down conversion issues will likely win.

The Green Bay Packers are favored by seven points against the Indianapolis Colts. Aaron Rodgers’ offense put up 32 points in Week 8 with no bona fide running back, and the Colts have a woeful pass defense. As well, Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck has been sacked an NFL-most 31 times, and the Packers have a solid pass rush.

And the Seattle Seahawks are favored by seven points on the Vegas odds against the Buffalo Bills in the Monday Night Football matchup. The Bills, with OLB Lorenzo Alexander leading the NFL in sacks, are capable of putting heat on Seattle QB Russell Wilson. Whether Bills QB Tyrod Taylor can produce against a premier pass defense such as Seattle’s remains to be seen.

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.