Patriots favored against Falcons in Super Bowl rematch

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It’s rare that the New England Patriots and Tom Brady are laying so few points at home, but then again, it’s been even longer since the Pats were dead last in the NFL in defense.

In a rematch of last season’s Super Bowl, if not necessarily a preview of this season’s, the Patriots are three-point favorites for Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons with a 56.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

There have been only four games dating to 2009 when the Patriots were favored by 3.0 or fewer points in a regular-season home game, and they are 4-0 straight-up and 3-0-1 against the spread in that small sample. Counting Super Bowl LI, the Falcons are 0-5 SU and ATS in their last five games against the Patriots according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

The Patriots are 14-3 SU in their last 17 night games, but only 2-2 in the last four.

The Falcons, who are 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS, are still a top-5 offense with QB Matt Ryan at the controls but have not shown the same dynamism they did while winning the NFC in 2016. New England has been dismal in coverage, ranking last in the NFL in yards per game (440.7) and yards per pass (8.6) allowed. Two of its top three cornerbacks, Stephen Gilmore (concussion) and Eric Rowe (groin), are iffy to play.

The Patriots might be stretched too thin to cover three-wideout looks with WRs Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel; after all, this is a unit that was last seen allowing 354 yards to the New York Jets’ Josh McCown.

One reason why Atlanta is 9-2 SU and ATS in its last 11 road games is due to the stability of the 1-2 punch of RB Devonta Freeman and RB Tevin Coleman. One way to beat the Patriots is to outscore them, and Atlanta would seem to be capable of such if it curbs its turnover problems.

The Patriots, who are 4-2 SU and 2-4 ATS, are No. 1 in the NFL in total offense and passing yards thanks to Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Brandin Cooks and slot WRs Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan. The Falcons defense is allowing just 6.1 yards per pass, but it has not been making many disruption plays (12 sacks and only three takeaways), which teams need a few of against the Patriots in order to get Brady out of rhythm.

New England is 5-0 SU and ATS in its last five games against Atlanta but, of course, that required an epic combination of collapse and comeback during the Super Bowl. In the present, the Patriots offense is a little pass-heavy, ranking 21st in the NFL in yards per rush while relying mostly on RB Mike Gillislee. That’s unlikely to strike much fear into the hearts of Atlanta.

The game has the highest total of the week, but the total has gone over in 19 of the Falcons’ last 24 games and has also gone over in all three of the Patriots’ home games this season. The total has gone over in the Patriots’ last five games at home against teams with winning records.

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.

Eagles, Wentz Big Favorites Against Depleted Cowboys on Sunday Night

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Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles go into a road team-dominated rivalry game on Sunday night against a Dallas Cowboys opponent that struggles as a home underdog

The Eagles are listed as 4.5-point road favorites against the Cowboys with a 48-point total for the Week 11 Sunday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The visiting team is 6-2 straight-up in its last eight games in this NFC East matchup and 8-3 against the spread in the last 11. Dallas, which will not have key performers such as RB Ezekiel Elliott (suspension), LT Tryon Smith (groin, back) and LB Sean Lee (hamstring), is also an inauspicious 2-8 SU and 4-4-2 ATS in its last 10 games as the underdog at AT&T Stadium.

The first priority for the Eagles, who are 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS, will be making sure RT Lane Johnson can contain DE Demarcus Lawrence, who already has 11.5 sacks. That’s easier said than done, but the Eagles have myriad rushing and short-passing threats they can use to slow up the Cowboys’ pass rush. Lee often shadows tight ends and running backs. If Philly’s leading receiver, TE Zach Ertz (hamstring, probable) is good to go, then the Eagles should have a well-balanced passing game.

The Cowboys give up a below-average 4.3 yards per rush and DT Maliek Collins (foot) could be missing from the interior of the front seven. Every bit of extra yardage the likes of Jay Ajayi grinds out will help Philadelphia, which is 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS in its last six games as a favorite of 5.0 or fewer points, avoid the obvious passing downs where Lawrence can tee off with a speed rush.

The Cowboys, who are 5-4 both SU and ATS, will need their second-year QB Dak Prescott to carry the load with his passing. Leading receiver Dez Bryant (ankle) will likely tough it out, but Philadelphia permits only 6.6 yards per pass (ninth in the NFL) and the pass coverage should get shored up by the return of CB Ronald Darby (ankle), who has been out for a month.

With no Elliott to hit the holes or Smith to open them, it’s hard to see how Dallas’ ground game will get traction against an elite Eagles defensive line fortified by DT Fletcher Cox and DE Brandon Graham. Philly allows only 3.6 yards per rush.

The total has gone over in six of the Eagles’ last eight games, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The total has gone under in nine of the Cowboys’ last 11 games as an underdog.

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.

Patriots over a touchdown favorite at Denver for Sunday night matchup

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Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, on top of facing the best defense they have seen all season, also carry some inauspicious trends into Denver.

The Patriots are listed as 7.5-point road favorites against the Broncos with a 44-point total for the NFL Week 10 Sunday night matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

New England is on a four-game win streak, but the OddsShark NFL Database shows it is 9-1 straight-up and 4-6 against the spread in its last 10 road games as a favorite of 7.5 or more points. The Patriots are coming out of their bye week but are 2-4 ATS in their last six regular-season games after a bye. The Broncos are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games in November.

New England, which is 6-2 SU and 4-4 ATS this season, will not have some crucial members of Brady’s supporting cast alongside as it challenges the NFL’s No. 2-ranked defense. Wide receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder) is out and so is RT Marcus Cannon. That could affect whether the Patriots, who lost to the Carolina Panthers in their only other game against a top-10 defense, can burn CBs Chris Harris, Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby.

Brady will likely have to count on RB James White and WR Brandin Cooks as outside receiving threats, while TE Rob Gronkowski should be his usual lethal self over the middle.

The Patriots’ pass protection has improved from the start of the season, but it will have to contend with OLB Von Miller. The New England running game, with White and Dion Lewis, ranks in the bottom third of the league while Denver allows the second-fewest yards per rush attempt.

Denver, 3-5 SU and 2-5-1 ATS, is on a four-game losing skid, but the three most recent were away games; they are 11-3 SU in their last 14 home games after consecutive road games. An outright win probably seems like a tall task given the struggles of Denver’s offense, which has turned to QB Brock Osweiler

One reason to think the group’s output will improve – beyond the belief that it would be hard to get worse – is that WR Emmanuel Sanders is healthy and could exploit struggling Patriots CB Johnson Bademosi.

The Patriots linebacker corps, led by OLB Kyle Van Noy, have had issues containing the run and covering running backs in the passing phase. Denver appears to have its running back trio of C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker and Jamaal Charles all healthy, and they could help with putting together long drives that keep Brady off the field and prevent the Patriots from engineering a blowout.

The total has gone under in eight of the Patriots’ last 10 road games when they were favored by at least 7.5 points. The total has gone under in five of the Patriots’ last six games on the road against teams with losing records. The total has gone under in nine of the Broncos’ last 12 games after a loss.

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.