NFL Thanksgiving Day betting guide: Odds, trends for trio of matchups

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Whether the Dallas Cowboys can break both their funk and a trend of failing to cover against sub-.500 teams might hinge largely on the status of one man – left tackle Tyron Smith.

The Cowboys host a pick-’em on Thursday against the Los Angeles Chargers with a 48-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The OddsShark NFL Database notes that the Cowboys are an underwhelming 4-12 against the spread in their last 16 home games against teams with losing records like Los Angeles, so having Smith (back/groin) return from a two-game absence will be paramount against a Chargers team that has one of the NFL’s best pass rushes, led by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.

The Chargers are 4-6 straight-up and 5-4-1 ATS, but with veteran QB Philip Rivers’ savvy they are good on short weeks, sporting a 4-1 ATS mark in their last five Thursday games. The Cowboys, who are 5-5 both SU and ATS, could impose their will on the Chargers in the rushing phase. Alfred Morris has been a bright spot with Ezekiel Elliott injured, and Dallas leads the NFL in yards per rush while Los Angeles gives up the most yards per rush.

The total has gone over in three of the Chargers’ last four games against the Cowboys. The total has gone over in seven of the Cowboys’ last nine games in the late afternoon.

Earlier on Thursday, the Minnesota Vikings are three-point road favorites against the Detroit Lions, with a 44.5 total.

The Vikings are 8-2 SU and 6-4 ATS, and bettors will have to decide whether to give more weight toward their head-to-head showing against the Lions – 0-3 SU in their last three – or a 6-0 SU streak that began after a Week 4 home loss against Detroit. The favored team is just 3-9 ATS in the last 12 games of this matchup. The Lions, who QB Matthew Stafford has led to a 6-4 SU and 5-4-1 ATS record, have shown a tendency to hit their stride in late November. They are 8-0 SU and ATS in their last eight home games in November.

The total has gone under in seven of the last eight games in this matchup.

And the Washington Redskins are set as 7.5-point favorites against the New York Giants, with a 44.5 total in the primetime matchup on Thursday.

The main question with the Giants and QB Eli Manning, who are 2-8 SU and 4-6 ATS, is whether they maintain the same urgency they had in Week 11 when they upset the Kansas City Chiefs, assuaging the pressure on head coach Ben McAdoo. The form suggests that’s unlikely, as New York is 2-7-1 ATS in its last 10 road games. The Redskins, who are 4-6 both SU and ATS, should rate a good shot at putting up a point total somewhere in the high 20s, since QB Kirk Cousins is playing well and RB Samaje Perrine looks like a ready-made replacement for the injured Chris Thompson.

The total has gone under in eight of the Giants’ last 11 games against the Redskins. Whether that trend holds will come down to the chess match between the Giants offense (30th in scoring) and Redskins defense (31st in scoring defense).

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

NFL Preseason Odds: Eagles, Patriots among Week 1 betting favorites

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All streaks come to an end, and the Philadelphia Eagles take a lengthy one into their preseason opener against their cross-state counterpart.

The Eagles, with third-string Nate Sudfeld as the only healthy seasoned quarterback on the depth chart, are three-point favorites on the NFL preseason odds against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 33-point total for their exhibition matchup on Thursday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Eagles are 9-0 both straight-up and against the spread in their last nine preseason home games as they head into an opener where neither Carson Wentz (knee) or Nick Foles (neck) are expected to play. The Steelers, who will use QBs Landry Jones, Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph, are 4-8 SU and 5-7 ATS in their last 12 preseason road games.

Also Thursday, the New England Patriots are a three-point betting favorite against the Washington Redskins with a 37-point total. The total has gone UNDER in eight of the Redskins’ last 10 preseason road games. The Patriots are 4-6 ATS in their last 10 preseason home games as a favorite of three points or more.

The Cincinnati Bengals are two-point favorites against the Chicago Bears with a 35.5-point total. The total has gone UNDER in seven of Cincinnati’s last 10 preseason games as a home favorite.

The Miami Dolphins are a 1.5-point favorite against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a 34-point total. The Buccaneers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine preseason games against the Dolphins. The total has gone UNDER in 17 of the last 20 preseason games in this matchup.

The Cleveland Browns are a one-point road favorite against the New York Giants with a 35-point total. The total has gone UNDER in five of the Browns’ last seven preseason road games. The Giants are 4-8-1 ATS in their last 13 preseason home games.

The Green Bay Packers host the Tennessee Titans in a pick’em with a 34.5-point total. The Titans are 3-7 in their last 10 preseason road games. The Packers are 7-1 SU in their last eight preseason home games.

The San Francisco 49ers are a 3.5-point favorite against the Dallas Cowboys with a 35-point total. The Cowboys are 0-10 SU and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 preseason road games as an underdog of three points or more, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The total has gone UNDER in 10 of the 49ers’ last 12 preseason games as a favorite of three points or more.

The Oakland Raiders are a three-point favorite against the Detroit Lions with a 36-point total in a Friday matchup. The Lions are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 preseason road games. The Raiders are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 preseason games as a home favorite, with the total finishing OVER eight times.

The Denver Broncos host the Minnesota Vikings in a pick’em with a 34.5-point total in a Saturday contest. The Vikings are 6-2 SU and ATS in their last eight preseason games. The total has gone UNDER in six of the Broncos’ last eight preseason home games.

And the Arizona Cardinals are a 2.5-point favorite against the Los Angeles Chargers with a 36-point total. The Chargers are 2-8 SU and 4-6 ATS in their last 10 preseason road games. The Cardinals are 3-6 SU and ATS in their last nine preseason games as a home favorite.

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.

Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown says he’d never kneel during national anthem

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Jim Brown has spent much of his post-NFL career fighting for social justice and change.

However, the Hall of Fame running back says he would never kneel during the national anthem.

The 82-year-old Brown, who championed civil rights during his playing career and became an activist in retirement, said Tuesday night that he respects players’ rights to do what they want but his preference is they would stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“I’ll never kneel and I will always respect the flag,” said Brown, who spoke before an HBO premiere of “Hard Knocks,” which is chronicling the Cleveland Browns in training camp.

Brown was asked how he would resolve the anthem issue, which has shadowed the league for two years.

“Well, if you take the bottom line, what are we talking about? We’re talking about freedom to express one’s self, and if you don’t break any rules then you have that particular right,” he said.

“I am not going to denigrate my flag and I’m going to stand for the national anthem. I’m fighting with all of my strength to make it a better country, but I don’t think that’s the issue. Because what is the top side? Are you not going to stand up? This is our country, man.

“We work hard to make it better and that’s my attitude, so I don’t relate to this issue because it’s newsworthy because where are your superstars? And where are they at? Aren’t they making comments?”

Protests during the anthem have enveloped the league since former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest social injustice.

The NFL modified its anthem protocol in May, prohibiting demonstrations for 2018, but allowing players to remain in the locker room during the anthem.

The NFL Players Assn. filed a grievance, and the change has been tabled while the NFL and the union work on a resolution.