SNF: Packers field-goal favorite against Lions in NFC North showdown

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Matthew Stafford will have some, but not all of his key pieces back when his Detroit Lions try to stop the bleeding in a potential winner-takes-all matchup against the Green Bay Packers.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, who are the hottest team in the NFL, are three-point betting favorites against the host Lions with a 49.5-point total for Sunday Night Football, according to sportsbooks monitored by the OddsShark.com.

Detroit has lost three of its last four games to fall into jeopardy of missing the playoffs, but they are 6-0 straight-up and 5-1 against the spread over their last six home games at Ford Field. Green Bay is 18-4 SU in the teams’ last 22 meetings, but interestingly the streaking Packers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games after winning their two most recent road games.

Green Bay is 9-6 SU and 7-7-1 ATS, thanks to a five-game win streak where it has averaged 31 points per game. The Lions have a resilient, if far from stingy defense (15th in the NFL), so the Packers will have to be patient and not make mistakes. Rodgers’ best receiver, Jordy Nelson, will have a tougher matchup if CB Darius Slay (hamstring), who practiced this week, returns from one-game absence.

The Packers also have starting WR Randall Cobb (ankle) potentially hobbled. The Lions have only 25 sacks this season, and if the likes Ziggy Ansah and Kerry Hyder can’t get to Rodgers, Detroit’s pass coverage could get exposed.

The Packers, who have been on a roller coaster ride on the odds to win Super Bowl 51, are 3-1 ATS in their last four games against the Lions. Converted WR Ty Montgomery has given Green Bay a reasonable facsimile of a rushing attack.

Detroit is 9-6 SU and 8-7 ATS, on the margin of Stafford having engineered eight victories in games where his team trailed in the fourth quarter. The Packers, with OLB Clay Matthews and OLB Nick Perry, have a strong pass rush and Detroit will need C Travis Swanson – who is back from missing three games due to a brain injury – to shore up their pass protection.

Green Bay allows a NFL-worst 8.0 yards per pass, and provided time to make his reads Stafford should be able to consistently find WR Marvin Jones, WR Golden Tate and slot WR Anquan Boldin.

Running back Theo Riddick (wrist) has been ruled out, leaving Dwayne Washington to prop up Detroit’s 30th-ranked running game. If the Lions are to win, it will come down to their formula of keeping the game close and counting on Stafford to deliver at the decisive stage.

The total has gone OVER in three of the Packers’ last four games against the Lions heading into their Sunday Night Football matchup. The loser will back into a wild-card berth if the Washington Redskins lose against the New York Giants, but the Giants are locked into their playoff position and have the luxury of resting key players.

Drew Brees, Le’Veon Bell Favorites in NFL Season Leader Props

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When it comes to betting props on NFL individual leaders, the tried-and-true works for picking a passing yards leader while rushing and receiving leaders are a little more random.

With training camps set to open in a matter of days, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a +300 favorite to lead the NFL in passing yards at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Brees has led (or co-led) the NFL in aerial yards five times in the last six seasons, with the lone exception coming in 2013 when Peyton Manning complied a NFL-record 5,477.

Brees will still have Willie Snead and Michael Thomas as outlets for his passes and, assuming the Saints’ defense stays near the bottom of the league, will have the opportunity to get into a few offensive shootouts.

The Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan (+400) and New England Patriots’ Tom Brady (+500) are the next two on the board. Ryan and the Falcons are likely to face a tougher schedule than what it turned out they had in 2016. Brady has only led the NFL in yards once, in 2007, and would be the oldest player to do so if he succeeds this season.

Based on 2016 won-loss records, the Indianapolis Colts and QB Andrew Luck (+1400) have the easiest schedule in the league, which could lead to Luck putting up some big numbers against softer competition. Another valid darkhorse play is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston (+1600), since he will have a 1-2 punch at receiver with Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson and a team that still relies on being pass-heavy.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell (+300) and Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott (+350) are tightly bunched atop the NFL rushing champion futures board. Bell will no doubt be among the leaders in yards from scrimmage per game, but he’s only played 16 games once in four seasons. While there hasn’t been a back-to-back rushing leader in 10 years, Elliott will be running behind an excellent Dallas offensive line.

The Los Angeles Rams’ third-year workhorse Todd Gurley (+2000) will be in a new offensive system and, hopefully for the Rams, will be better complemented by second-year QB Jared Goff in the passing phase. That would give Gurley a fairer shot at breaking big runs on the regular.

Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (+400) and Atlanta’s Julio Jones (+400) are co-favorites on the odds to tally the most receiving yards, with the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham (+500) also coming in highly touted. Brown had two fewer targets per game in 2016 than in ’15, meaning he might be a less high-volume receiver now that he is 29. Jones has a receiving title from 2015, but last season the Falcons were most efficient when they spread the ball around.

Last year, the Indianapolis Colts’ T.Y. Hilton (+1200 this year) led the league in yards after being listed at +3300 in the preseason. Among the potential 2017 replicants are New England’s Brandin Cooks (+3300), who is expected to be the field-stretching target the Patriots have managed to do without since the Randy Moss days a decade ago. The aforementioned Mike Evans (+1200) is also close to a sure thing to get 11-12 targets per game in Tampa Bay and the continued development of Winston could make him a 1,500-yard receiver.

The last 12 league leaders in receiving yardage have been less than 30 years old at the start of the season. That trend has been consistent dating to the mid-1990s, with 19 of the last 21 receiving leaders being players who were no older than 29 at the start of the season.

Internet reacts to O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing

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In case you weren’t aware, O.J. Simpson was granted parole and the internet went crazy.

Cue hilarious tweets.