Super Bowl 51: Odds steady for New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons

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With each team seemingly as much of a picture of health as it can be after 18 games, the New England Patriots remain a field-goal favorite against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Patriots are listed as three-point favorites against the Falcons with a 59.5-point total in the Super Bowl 51 matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The NFL championship game takes place at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday, where 13 seasons ago the Patriots won the second of their four titles.

New England is 4-6 straight-up and against the spread in its last 10 games as a favorite of four or fewer points. Since Dan Quinn took over the Falcons in 2015, they are 8-2 SU and ATS as a underdog of four points or fewer, but obviously none of those were playoff games, let alone a Super Bowl.

The reason the lines have not shifted is that both teams got through the NFC and AFC Championship Games relatively unscathed. The Falcons, who are 13-5 SU and 12-6 ATS, have two major components of their league-leading offense, WR Julio Jones (sprained toe) and C Alex Mack (left fibula), back on the field at practice.

Quinn was the defensive coordinator when the Seattle Seahawks went to two Super Bowls, routing the Denver Broncos at the end of the 2013 season and coming up one yard short – thanks, Pete Carroll – against the Patriots in 2014.

Quinn-guided teams are 7-1 SU in their last eight playoff games. Atlanta, which has NFL sack leader Vic Beasley Jr. helping it generate pressure with a four-man pass rush – a must since Tom Brady shreds blitzes – is allowing five fewer points per game in the playoffs than in the regular season.

Incidentally, there are +300 odds on Matt Ryan winning regular-season MVP and Super Bowl MVP, which hasn’t been accomplished since Kurt Warner in the 1999 season. Seven of the last eight quarterbacks who collected regular-season MVP hardware after leading their team to a conference title lost in the Super Bowl, including Tom Brady in 2007.

The Patriots are 16-2 SU and 15-3 ATS and their only new injury of note is run-stuffing DT Alan Branch (toe). The bye week should be a salve for WR Chris Hogan (thigh), WR Danny Amendola (ankle) and TE Martellus Bennett (knee).

Brady will be facing an Atlanta defense that finished the regular season with an unsightly 31-to-12 TD/interception ratio. The Falcons’ 4.5 yards per rush allowed was also 26th in the NFL, and they might have been fortunate that neither of their NFC playoff opponents, the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers, were strong in the rushing phase.

This will be the 10th time Bill Belichick has had direct control of a defense in the Super Bowl and the previous nine opponents averaged 22.3 points, compared to a cumulative 25.2 through the regular season. Belichick’s team has also prevailed two of three times (against the 1990 Bills and 2001 Rams, with a loss against the 1996 Packers) when it has faced the No. 1-ranked offense. Of course, both wins came down to the final seconds and a placekicker.

SNF Odds: Patriots favored by touchdown over Lions

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It’s not unusual for the New England Patriots to lay a touchdown as a road team – it just normally comes later in the season, which might raise a red flag about the underdog Detroit Lions.

The Patriots, with quarterback Tom Brady behind centre, are 7-point road favorites against the Detroit Lions with a 53.5-point total for Sunday Night Football, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Over the last three seasons, according to the OddsShark NFL Database, the Patriots are 8-1 straight-up and 6-3 against the spread as a road favorite of 6.5 or more points, but this is only the second time they have had such a large line before October 1. The Lions, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, are 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS in their last five games as an underdog.

The primetime matchup sees Patriots head coach Bill Belichick match wits with Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who was previously New England’s defensive coordinator. Under Belichick, the Patriots are 12-6 SU and 11-7 ATS in matchups against teams whose head coach once worked for the Patriots.

The main question offensively with the Patriots, 1-1 SU and ATS, is whether Brady’s complement of wide receivers, which includes Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett, are dangerous enough to draw attention away from tight end Rob Gronkowski. The good news for New England is the Lions have yet to show they can stop the pass or the run, ranking fifth-worst in the NFL in yards per pass allowed and third-last in opponents’ passer rating, and dead last in rushing yards allowed.

Newly acquired wide receiver Josh Gordon (hamstring) is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report for the week. Since 2000, the Patriots are 21-6 ATS after a double-digit defeat. They lost 31-20 against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.

The Lions, who are 0-2 SU and 1-1 ATS, have had to play catch-up during both of their games due to the aforementioned dismal defense and the offense having six turnovers. The fact that the Lions are 7-2 SU in their last nine games at home after losing their most recent home game offers some reassurance that quarterback Matthew Stafford and his supporting cast of wide receivers Marvin Jones and Golden Tate should have a strong night.

The Patriots defense has also been leaky so far, ranking 13th in yards per pass allowed but 25th in yards per rush, so Detroit has an opportunity to use running backs LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick effectively and keep Stafford out of desperate down-and-distance scenarios.

This is already the Lions’ second prime-time game of the season, but they are 5-12-1 ATS in 18 games at night with Stafford as their quarterback.

The total has gone UNDER in eight of the Patriots’ last 10 road games when they were favored by at least 6.5 points, but all of those games were played outdoors on October 15 or later in the fall. The total has gone OVER in eight of the Lions’ last 10 games at home, with an average combined score of 51.1.

For more odds information, betting 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 listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

 

Cowboys field-goal favorites on NFL odds for Sunday Night Football

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While the total has been a sure thing in one of the NFL’s oldest rivalries, bettors will have to decide whether to trust the Dallas Cowboys’ recent favorite trend or a longer-term issue as a slim favorite on home turf.

The Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott are 3-point betting favorites on the NFL odds against the New York Giants with a 42.5-point total in the NFL Sunday Night Football matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Both NFC East rivals are coming off low-scoring defeats in their season openers, and the OddsShark NFL Database affirms that the Cowboys are 6-1 straight-up and 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven games as a favorite. However, since Jason Garrett became their head coach, they are 3-8 both SU and ATS in home games as a favorite of 3.0 or less.

The season is only a week old, but the Giants, with quarterback Eli Manning now in his 15th season behind center, still seem shaky along the offensive line after a 20-15 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their opener. The O-line issues are a contributor to the Giants being 2-9 SU and 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 away games against the NFC East.

Up front this time around, right tackle Ereck Flowers will have a challenge limiting Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. On the plus side for the Giants, they have superior individual talent in both the rushing and passing phases with running back Saquon Barkley and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., which means they always have an outside shot at pulling an upset.

The Cowboys, who lost 16-8 to the Carolina Panthers during Week 1, are facing doubts about the productivity of their passing game. Dallas has averaged 18.75 points against New York in four games started by Prescott. The once-vaunted offensive line has new parts with rookie left guard Connor Williams and center Joe Looney replacing Travis Frederick (Guillain-Barre Syndrome) and allowed six sacks against Carolina.

However, the Giants defense had only one sack last week and was nearly dead-last in the NFL in that defensive category last season. If the Cowboys keep the first-down chains moving with running back Ezekiel Elliott – they are 10-2 SU when he gains at least 100 yards – then it will help Prescott settle in and find wide receivers Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams.

The Cowboys are 7-3 straight-up in their last 10 games against the Giants, including 4-1 SU at home.

This matchup has been a throwback on the scoreboard. The total has gone UNDER in the Giants’ last four games against the Cowboys, with an average combined score of 29.5. The total has gone UNDER in seven of the Giants’ last eight games. The total has also gone UNDER in the Cowboys’ last five games.

For more odds information, betting 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 listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.