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.

NFL Draft Betting Value Rests Beyond Browns’ No. 1 Overall Pick

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The only certainty on the morning of the 2018 NFL draft is that the Cleveland Browns, with the No. 1 and 4 overall picks, will take a quarterback – which has created a ripple effect on other betting props.

Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold is the -180 favorite to be the No. 1 overall choice in the 2018 NFL draft that takes begins in Arlington, Texas on Thursday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The other players in the No. 1 pick prop include three other quarterbacks, Wyoming’s Josh Allen (+175), Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (+450) and UCLA’s Josh Rosen (+1800), plus Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (+600) and North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb (+4500).

Quarterbacks have been taken No. 1 in 12 of the last 17 drafts and no running back has been the top pick since 1995. Darnold’s price might reflect an expectation that his skillset is most in tune with conventional NFL thinking. If a bettor believes the Browns will buck convention, well, Allen is believed to have better physical tools and there is the Hail Mary option of Mayfield, whose competitiveness and athleticism is offset by being short for a NFL quarterback.

The quarterback-at-No. 1 argument adds values to other props. Barkley (+175) has the lowest price but is still plus money as the No. 2 overall selection on the 2018 NFL draft betting props board. The New York Giants have that pick and general manager Dave Gettleman does not have a history of trading down at the draft. The Giants haven’t indicated a focus on a QB, which seemingly rules out Darnold (+275), Allen (+350) and Rosen (+400).

The New York Jets are a lock to take a quarterback, creating a very tight No. 3 overall prop between Rosen (+140) and Mayfield (+160). The play there depends on what type of risk bettors believe the Jets want to take on: with Mayfield, the only knock is his height (a smidge about 6-foot), while Rosen battled concussions in college.

Between the Browns also holding the No. 4 choice and the Denver Broncos possibly trading down from No. 5, the +225 price on whether one of the first five picks will be traded is a very enticing proposition. The Buffalo Bills are one of the quarterback-hungry teams with two first-round picks they could ante to move up in the draft order, while speculation also has the New England Patriots looking to move up, since Tom Brady presumably will not play forever.

Position props can also be great fun. The over/under on quarterbacks selected in the first round is 5.5. Only once – the famed John Elway-Jim Kelly-Dan Marino draft in 1983 – have six QBs gone in the first round. Tying that record would require both Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph to go in the first round. The over/under on Jackson’s draft slot is 17.5

It is considered a thin year for elite wide receivers, so the -150 under on the 2.5 total seems like the percentage play. Teams have been wary of using first-rounders on running backs in recent years, but the total is only 1.5, making the -220 over a realistic hit since, after Barkley goes, only one team would have to take a chance on a back such as Louisiana State’s Derrius Guice or Georgia’s Sony Michel.

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.

 

 

Best ads from Super Bowl LII

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The best Super Bowl ads made us laugh, cry, and audibly wonder how much a trip to Australia would cost.

Here are some of the best ads from Super Bowl LII:

GOAT Ad: Doritos, Mountain Dew collaboration with Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman rapping Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott

Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman in any Super Bowl commercial was going to be epic, but having them RAP (lip sync, obviously) Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott?! That was what Super Bowl commercials are made for.

Leaving on a Jet Plane: Australia Tourism

It’s cold on the East Coast right now and Australia looks nice and warm, so this ad should move Australia to the next spot on your vacation list. The ad referenced a “remake” of ‘Crocodile Dundee’ with Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride, the incredible Australian wine, and stunning beaches.

Laugh Out Loud: NFL’s Dirty Dancing tribute ad

Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. had the time of their lives during Super Bowl LII, paying tribute to Dirty Dancing’s famous dance routine and acrobatic leap done by Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze.

You are, you’re a Superstar… commercial: Amazon

Amazon brought the star power to their Amazon Echo spot, with Gordon Ramsey, Cardi B, Leslie Jones, Rebel Wilson and Anthony Hopkins, filling in for a voiceless Amazon Alexa.

Get the tissues: Hyundai

Hyundai’s ad where car buyers meeting cancer patients that they helped by purchasing a car hit you right in the feels. It was obvious that every parent was on the edge of tears while watching the videos of patients saying thank you.

If you want to watch all of the Super Bowl ads, check them out here.