Prescott, Cowboys touchdown favorite against Bucs for Sunday night

Leave a comment

A touchdown spread seems a trifle high since the Dallas Cowboys seem to be cooling off and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the hottest defense in the NFL.

The Cowboys are listed as seven-point favorites against the Buccaneers with a 46.5-point total for Sunday Night Football at sportsbooks monitored by the OddsShark.com. Dallas has not covered in any of its last three games, two of which were away from AT&T Stadium.

However, the Cowboys are 18-6 straight-up in their last 24 home games after consecutive road games.

The host Cowboys, who are 11-2 SU and 9-3-1 ATS, will likely try to set the tone for the night by relying on NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott to carry them while running behind the likes of RG Zack Martin, C Travis Frederick and LT Tryon Smith. Tampa Bay is below-average at stopping the run, allowing 4.3 yards per attempt.

The passing phase could be problematic for Dallas. Rookie QB Dak Prescott has struggled of late, but conversely Tampa Bay leads the NFL in opponents’ quarterback rating since Week 10 and has a strong pass rush led by DE Robert Ayers.

The Buccaneers can match up a strong set of cornerbacks, Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves, against WR Dez Bryant and WR Terrance Williams. They had three interceptions last week against New Orleans’ Drew Brees, who has been in the NFL since Prescott was in elementary school.

The Buccaneers are 8-5 SU and 8-5 ATS thanks to their five-game win streak. Quarterback Jameis Winston, WR Mike Evans and TE Cameron Brate have helped Tampa Bay make a vast improvement in the passing phase, which made a difference during their recent statement wins against the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks.

Winston should be able to keep the first-down chains moving on Sunday, but how many points Tampa Bay puts up might vary depending on whether Dallas (five interceptions, 31st in the NFL) continues to struggle at causing turnovers and how well the Buccaneers do in the red zone.

Tampa Bay has the lowest yards per rush (3.5) of any team with at least 340 attempts, so Cowboys OLB Sean Lee should have plenty of chances to make big hits. The Buccaneers won’t win many games on the margin of their running game, but they certainly aren’t going to junk it and leave Winston in a one-dimensional scheme that’s easy to defend.

The total has gone over on the NFL betting lines at the sportsbooks in six of the Buccaneers’ last seven games at night.

Marcus Mariota can’t even explain his historic touchdown catch

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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.