NFL Divisional Round Odds: Falcons, Steelers highlight favorites

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The Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles have made some NFL betting line history on a weekend where the recent trends have seen favorites win and away teams get the cover. Of course, the Falcons match both descriptions.

Favored teams are 16-3 straight-up in the last 19 NFL divisional round games, while away teams are 9-5-2 against the spread in the last 16 games held on the second weekend of the postseason.

For the first time in playoff history, a No. 1 seed is an underdog. The Falcons are listed as three-point road favorites against the Carson Wentz-less Philadelphia Eagles with a 41-point total in a Saturday matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by Atlanta is only 1-7 SU and 1-6-1 ATS in its last eight road games against the Eagles.

Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Falcons offense will need to be sharp against defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and the Eagles’ No. 4-ranked defense. The Eagles, who are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games, probably need to build a lead through running back Jay Ajayi and their ground game, rather than rely on backup quarterback Nick Foles.

Like with any game in the Northeast in January, weather, especially the wind, will be a factor. The total has gone under in nine of the Falcons’ last 12 games against the Eagles.

Meanwhile, the New England Patriots are 13.5-point favorites against the Tennessee Titans with a 47.5 total in the late Saturday matchup. Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota and his offense could have issues keeping pace with Tom Brady and the Patriots’ No. 1-ranked attack.

The Titans, who are just 7-20-1 ATS in their last 28 games after a win, will need a stronger pass rush than they usually get in order to stymie Brady, who has helped New England fashion a 9-1 ATS record in its last 10 games. New England is also 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS in its last three games as a double-digit favorite in the playoffs.

The total has gone over in six of the Titans’ last seven games on the road against the Patriots. The total has also gone over in seven of the Patriots’ last 10 home games.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are listed as 7.5-point favorites against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a 41 total in Sunday’s early matchup. The Jaguars, who boast strong head-to-head trends – try 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games on the road against the Steelers – must hope that running back Leonard Fournette can gash Pittsburgh’s 10th-ranked run defense. Relying on quarterback Blake Bortles to perform miracles is a likely non-starter.

It’s not yet confirmed that all-everything wide-out Antonio Brown will play, but he is practicing for the Steelers, who are 10-2 SU in their last 12 home games. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers have had a soap opera-like season, but they are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games at this stage of the playoffs.

The total has gone over in 18 of the Steelers’ last 25 playoff games.

And the Minnesota Vikings, second only to the Patriots on the Super Bowl 52 odds, are five-point favorites against the New Orleans Saints with a 46.5 total in the late Sunday matchup. New Orleans is only 2-7 ATS in its last nine games against Minnesota, but Drew Brees leads a No. 4-ranked offense that is complemented by a much more dynamic rushing attack than the one he had during a loss to the Vikings in Week 1 of this season.

The Vikings have changed their look since then, too, with quarterback Case Keenum taking over, but two constants are their No. 1-ranked defense and 9-2 ATS record over their last 11 games. The Vikings are also 6-2 SU in their last eight home games against teams with winning records.

The total has gone over in five of the Saints’ last seven games as an underdog. The total has also gone over in seven of the Saints’ last nine games against the Vikings.

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

Pederson remembers coaching start before Super Bowl

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Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson hasn’t forgotten where his journey began: High school.

Following his playing career with the Dolphins, Packers, Browns and Eagles, Pederson bypassed professional coaching jobs. Instead, he joined Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport, L.A., and quickly added an NFL-caliber playbook to the second-year program.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

This is where he learned that he loved to coach the game. He embraced his role at the school, where he would help in the cafeteria and line the field before games. “I just enjoyed that part of it,” he says. Ten seasons later, he will coach on the biggest stage in the world.

Super Bowl LII Prop Bets

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Oddsmakers have Super Bowl LII covered from every angle, and that includes the halftime show. There is all manner of betting speculation around Justin Timberlake being the featured halftime show performer, 14 years after the infamous “Nipplegate” incident with Janet Jackson at Super Bowl XVIII.

With the game in Minneapolis, hometown of Prince, it seems obvious that JT will cover a song by the Twin Cities’ favorite son, which pays out at -140 on the Super Bowl LII props at sportsbooks monitored by The total on Janet Jackson references is 1.5, with the over at even money; it’s hard to think Al Michaels could resist one mention.

The Philadelphia Eagles, with Nick Foles, are the first team in 27 years to reach the Super Bowl after losing their starting quarterback in December. It’s -150 on injured Carson Wentz being mentioned more than 3.5 times.

But oddsmakers also clearly expect the announcers to build a storyline around the New England Patriots, as it’s -130 for separate props on whether owner Robert Kraft or coach Bill Belichick will be mentioned or shown on-screen before their Eagles counterparts, Jeff Lurie and Doug Pederson respectively. Belichick is -125 to wear a blue shirt at kickoff time, since he wore that color during New England’s past two Super Bowl shows.

More than half of Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks and Tom Brady is a -110 favorite while Nick Foles comes back at +350. It would probably take something on order of a three-touchdown day to wrest the honor from the winning QB, so both the Patriots’ Dion Lewis (+1800) and Eagles’ Jay Ajayi (+1800) are worthy darkhorse picks.

History is not on the side of Rob Gronkowski (+900) since a tight end has never been the game MVP, but Gronk does offer immense value at +400 to score the first Patriots touchdown.

It is +300 on any quarterback passing for 400 or more yards. The strength of the Eagles defense and the run-pass balance of Philadelphia’s offense makes that result look far-fetched.

There was no Gatorade bath for Belichick after Super Bowl LI, which the Patriots won in overtime, but he was doused with orange Gatorade after Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. It is +225 that the liquid poured on the winning coach will be either green, lime or yellow, with +250 for orange, +275 for red and +275 for clear/water.

Clear and orange have been the result four times apiece in the last 15 occurrences and red has not come up. Purple (+1000) has also been used four of the last 15 times and it would be ironic if it happens again, since that is the color of the host Vikings.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at