Patriots Installed as Betting Favorites on Super Bowl LII Futures Board

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The way Tom Brady and the New England Patriots rallied to win the Super Bowl on Sunday burnished their aura of invincibility, but it’s bad for creating a good price in betting futures for next season.

The Patriots, who won their fifth title in the past 16 seasons on Sunday, opened as a +450 favorite on the Super Bowl LII futures boards at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Brady will turn 40 years old before the season kicks off but Tom Terrific is betraying few signs of decline, having passed for a Super Bowl-record 466 yards while guiding New England to 31 unanswered points in their 34-28 overtime victory against the Atlanta Falcons.

Anyone believing New England might repeat – assuming a healthy Rob Gronkowski, too – might want to wait until the prices drop. Since New England went back-to-back in 2003 and 2004, only one defending champion – the 2014 Seattle Seahawks – has even made it back to the big game.

The top of the board is filled with a who’s-who of NFC contenders; that is, the teams who will never face a foray to Foxborough in January for a divisional round contest or the AFC Championship Game.

The Dallas Cowboys are listed at +1000 after finishing with a conference-best 13-3 record. The long-time playoff mainstays, the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, each draw in at +1100. The Falcons, who will face a first-place schedule and some improved competition in the NFC South, are listed at +1250, suggesting oddsmakers believe there will be some Carolina Panthers-like regression.

Atlanta has already lost offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who is the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

The real value on the board might derive from the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and New York Giants, who are each listed at +1900. All three have their flaws. The Chiefs have been a consistent playoff team for two years, while the Raiders were in the hunt for a No. 2 seed before losing franchise QB Derek Carr and ending up with a wild card spot. The Giants still figure to return crafty QB Eli Manning and a much improved defense.

Super Bowl LII will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on February 4, 2018. No host team has ever won. The Minnesota Vikings are among the longshots at +2800.

Broncos favored on road against Colts for Thursday Night Football

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In a prime-time matchup between inconsistent teams that are playing for pride, bettors might want to zone in on who could be motivated to break some negative betting trends.

The Denver Broncos are listed as a 2.5-point road favorite against the Colts with a 51.5-point total for the NFL Week 15 Thursday Night Football matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

It has been more than a full 365 days since the Broncos, who are 0-8 straight-up and against the spread in their last eight road games, have won away from home. Getting a struggling Colts team on a short week would seem like a golden opportunity for the Broncos to get off the schneid, although Indianapolis is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games after consecutive losses.

The Broncos are also 0-6 SU and ATS in their last six games in Indianapolis, according to the OddsShark NFL Database, but all of those were with Peyton Manning quarterbacking one team or the other. Both teams’ identities have changed dramatically in the last two seasons, and not for the better.

The Broncos, who are 4-9 SU and 3-9-1 ATS, have a promising matchup in the passing phase for a change. Wideout Demaryius Thomas (four TDs in the last six games) is on a tear and the Colts come in allowing an NFL-worst 8.2 yards per pass and missing starting CBs Nate Hairston (concussion) and Rashaan Melvin (hand). Quarterback Trevor Siemian is also coming off a turnover-free game against the New York Jets in Week 14.

Denver has shut down RG Ron Leary (back) for the season, so it’s unclear how much one should expect from RB C.J. Anderson and the running game. Of course, Denver really only needs its offense to produce 2-3 scoring drives a game and not leave OLB Von Miller and the defense in perilous positions.

The Colts, who are 3-10 SU and 6-7 ATS, are struggling to keep pass rushers off young QB Jacoby Brissett and have allowed an NFL-worst 52 sacks. That hardly seems auspicious going into a matchup against Miller and other pass rushers such as DE Shelby Harris and OLB Shaquil Barrett.

With Chris Harris and Aqib Talib on the corners for Denver, it is hard to foresee a breakout from No. 1 WR T.Y. Hilton, whom Brissett has struggled to connect with in recent games. The outlook is much better for TE Jack Doyle against a Broncos defense that does struggle covering inside receivers, so if Indianapolis is to win, it might come through Brissett and Doyle cashing in on any and all red-zone visits. Denver tied for the league worst with 26 touchdown passes allowed.

The Colts face a tough matchup in the rushing phase. Denver allows a league-low 3.3 yards per rush, and Indianapolis will have to spot RB Frank Gore after he had 36 rushes in ankle-deep snow against Buffalo last Sunday.

One should read very little into the Broncos being 8-2 SU and ATS in their last 10 Thursday games and the Colts being an even more sterling 11-1 SU and 10-2 ATS in their last 12 Thursday contests. Both teams have tailed off considerably in the last two seasons.

The total has gone under in six of the Broncos’ last seven games against teams with losing records. The total has also gone under in nine of the Colts’ last 11 games.

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

Rams’ Whitworth rewards local students with bikes

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Los Angeles Rams’ Andrew Whitworth celebrated his 36th birthday in an unconventional way this year. Instead of receiving gifts, the offensive tackle donated nearly 600 bikes and helmets to Grape Street Elementary School in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Whitworth had 18-wheelers deliver the gifts and was in attendance to tell the children the good news.

In order to not leave any Walmart without bikes ahead of the holiday season, Whitworth went to multiple stores.

The children returned the favor by giving Whitworth a cake and singing him “Happy Birthday.”

Whitworth is in his first year in Los Angeles after signing a three-year contract with the Rams earlier this year. The 12-year veteran’s charity, the Big Whit 77 Foundation,  partners with students to challenge them to get good grades.