Cowboys Field-Goal Favorites at Oakland for Sunday Night Football

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The Dallas Cowboys, with a rejuvenated Dak Prescott and a reinforced defense, also take two positive trends into a do-or-done game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night.

The Cowboys are listed as a three-point road favorite against the Raiders with a 45-point total for the Week 15 Sunday night matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The OddsShark NFL Database shows that the Cowboys are 8-2 straight-up and 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games as a favorite on the road, as well as a commendable 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS when laying 3.5 or fewer points. Bettors sizing up the underdog Raiders and QB Derek Carr will have to measure their desultory defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14 against a 9-2 ATS mark in their last 11 games after consecutive ATS losses.

The fortunes of the Cowboys, who are 7-6 SU and ATS, have been yoked to the health of their offensive line. While RT La’el Collins (back) is listed as questionable, he has been playing without practicing over the past few games, so he should be good to go for a likely matchup against OLB Khalil Mack, edge rusher extraordinaire. Otherwise, the Cowboys, who are 5-1 SU in their last six night games, have a good matchup in the passing phase.

The Raiders allow a whopping 7.7 yards per pass and a have a NFL-low two interceptions, and Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has been very productive over the past few games.

The Dallas rushing game has been serviceable of late with an Alfred Morris-Rod Smith rotation in place of suspended star Ezekiel Elliott.

Regarding the Raiders, who are 6-7 SU and 4-8-1 ATS, the big question is whether they will come out with some urgency after mailing in the first three quarters against Kansas City. It isn’t overly auspicious that the Raiders are 3-7 SU and ATS in their last 10 home games as underdogs of 3.5 or fewer points, nor is it promising that No. 1 WR Amari Cooper (hamstring) will not be available to take advantage a young Dallas defensive secondary.

The Raiders will need to coax some consistency out of receivers such as WR Johnny Holton in order to test the likes of CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB Jourdan Lewis and SS Xavier Woods. Oakland RT Marshall Newhouse could also have his hands full against DE DeMarcus Lawrence, an elite pass rusher in his own right.

Oakland RB Marshawn Lynch has five touchdowns in as many games, but the Cowboys rush defense has been fortified considerably now that OLB Anthony Hitchens and OLB Sean Lee are healthy again.

The favored team is 4-0 SU in the last four games of this matchup. Five of the Cowboys’ last six games have gone under, and the total has also gone under six of the last eight times that the Cowboys were favored on the road by 3.5 points or less.

Brady, Patriots underdogs at Chiefs on AFC Championship Game odds

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The Arctic blast expected at Arrowhead Stadium might seem like Tom Brady weather, but there are also some cold, hard facts with home and away trends at this stage of the game.

The Kansas City Chiefs, with NFL MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes behind center, are 3-point favorites on the NFL betting lines against the Patriots with a 56-point total in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

While the Chiefs are trying to advance to their first Super Bowl in 49 seasons, they are 8-1 straight-up in their last nine games as home favorites. The Patriots, who are underdogs with Brady as a starter for the first time since September 2015, are 2-7 against the spread in their last nine games in the championship round, and 3-5 SU and ATS on the road this season.

While the Patriots should never be counted out as long as Bill Belichick is scheming and Brady is slinging passes, away teams are 1-11 SU in the last 12 AFC Championship Game matchups and 1-4 ATS in the last five at betting sites.

The Patriots, 12-5 SU and 10-7 ATS, have a history that needs no ballyhooing at this point. In the present, New England had a negative net yards per play and point differential during the regular season, and were markedly worse at finishing off offensive drives with touchdowns and making third-down stops on defense.

Of course, a good team can overcome that for one afternoon, and Belichick and Brady will try to confuse the Chiefs by spreading the ball around multi-talented running backs Sony Michel and James White, slippery wide receiver Julian Edelman, and tight end Rob Gronkowski. At peak form, the Patriots seldom let pass rushers get near Brady, but the Chiefs had three sacks in their divisional-round game against the Indianapolis Colts, who allowed the fewest sacks in the regular season.

The reality that the best defense for the Patriots is a clock-consuming controlled offense, combined with the conditions, could limit scoring.

The Chiefs, 13-4 SU and 10-6-1 ATS, do offer some historically based hunches. Mahomes, whose regular-season passing rating was the best in NFL history by a 23-year-old quarterback, also had just the second 5,000-yard/50-touchdown season in league annals, joining Peyton Manning in 2013 when he beat the Patriots at home in the AFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs are also 3-1 ATS in their last four games against New England, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

Matchups-wise, New England loves to take away an opponent’s fanciest toy – otherwise known as wide receiver Tyreek Hill in this game – but Mahomes’ other preferred targets, Sammy Watkins and tight end Travis Kelce, could take advantage of the added focus on their teammate. The X-factor will be running back Damien Williams, who will try to take advantage of the vulnerability New England has shown, at least to this point, at containing runs up the middle and passes to the backs.

The temperature is expected to be in the 20s, but neither passer needed a glove on his throwing hand while playing in frigid weather during the divisional round. The total has gone UNDER in eight of the Patriots’ last 10 games, with an average combined score of 43.7 points. The total has gone UNDER in 11 of the Chiefs’ last 14 home games, with an average combined score of 45.86 points.

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 Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Saints field-goal favorites on NFC Championship Game odds

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The idea of a Superdome mystique boosting the New Orleans Saints is not supported by their record against the spread when hosting postseason games.

The Saints, led by quarterback Drew Brees, are 3-point favorites  on the NFL odds against the Los Angeles Rams with a 56.5-point total for their NFC Championship Game matchup on Sunday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Saints are 9-0 straight-up in their last nine home games against teams with winning records, but are just 2-7 against the spread in their last nine games in the playoffs as home favorites at the Superdome. The Rams are also 9-2 SU in their last 11 road games.

Home teams are 10-0 SU in conference championship games over the last five years and favorites are 8-2 SU.

The Rams, who are 14-3 SU and 8-7-2 ATS this season, come into this matchup that decides a Super Bowl berth as perhaps the hotter team. Since Week 15, the Rams’ Jared Goff-led offense is averaging 33.0 points per game and 5.92 yards per play, compared to the Saints’ averages of 21.0 and 5.65 with Brees behind center in that same span.

Since losing to the Saints 45-35 in Week 9, the Rams have fortified their ground game, with Todd Gurley being spelled by C.J. Anderson. The Rams have a much stronger running game than the Philadelphia Eagles team the Saints edged in the divisional round, and New Orleans also lost run-stuffing defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (Achilles) for the year during that game.

The Saints are 14-3 SU and 10-7 on the point spread, and between future Hall of Fame passer Brees and his supporting cast that includes wide receiver Michael Thomas and running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, they often prove tough to contain at home.

Bettors who put stock in the conference-championship home-team trend likely also know that the Saints are 15-2 SU in their last 17 home games. Thomas, who had 12 receptions for 171 yards against the Eagles, was even more productive against the Rams in the regular season with 12 catches for 211 yards.

With that said, matchups and health are also paramount and Saints left tackle Terron Armstead (pectoral) will be playing hurt while lining up across from a defensive front that includes fearsome Aaron Donald, along with Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers.

The last four NFC title games has all gone OVER the closing total at sports betting sites.

The total has gone OVER in five of the Rams’ last six games on the road against the Saints. The total has gone OVER in eight of the Saints’ last nine home games where they were favored by 4.0 or fewer points.

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 Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.