Visiting Vikings Heavy Favorites at Lambeau Field for Saturday Night

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The Minnesota Vikings-Green Bay Packers rivalry hasn’t seen a spread like this in three decades.

With the playing-for-pride Packers shutting down franchise QB Aaron Rodgers for the season, the Vikings are listed as 9-point road favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com against Green Bay with a 40-point total in a Saturday matchup on the NFL Week 16 schedule.

According to the OddsShark NFL Database, this is the first time since 2000 the Vikings have gone into Green Bay as the favorite. It is also the most points the Packers have been spotted for a home game since 1988.

Minnesota is 6-3 straight-up and 5-4 against the spread over their last nine games as a road favorite. Green Bay, with Brett Hundley back as the starting quarterback, are 1-6 SU and 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games as a home underdog.

With a forecast high of 20 degrees, the weather will be a factor for both offenses, but the Vikings, who are 11-3 SU and 10-4 ATS, don’t fit the stereotype of dome teams. Many members of QB Case Keenum’s complement of receivers – including WR Stefon Diggs, WR Adam Thielen, RB Jerick McKinnon and TE Kyle Rudolph – were around when Minnesota played in the elements in 2015.

Depending on how much of an equalization the conditions become, Keenum and Co. should have a matchup edge since the Packers give up 7.8 yards per pass, fourth-worst in the NFL.

The Vikings, if LT Riley Rieff (ankle) returns, should have their entire offensive line whole again. Minnesota has a good-but-great ground game with Latavius Murray and McKinnon and the Packers are limiting teams to just 4.0 yards per rush, ninth in the NFL.

The prospects for the Packers, who are 7-7 SU and ATS, getting a shot at the cover or the outright victory likely come down to the production of Hundley and the protection of his offensive line. Instability with the latter is why Green Bay has allowed way too many sacks (46) this season, but they are relatively healthy.

With Davante Adams in the concussion protocol, Green Bay will likely be counting on the WR trio of Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Geronimo Allison to find slews of space against Minnesota’s second-ranked defense, whose 5.9 yards per pass allowed is also second in the NFL.

Green Bay, which is 4-2 ATS in its last six games, has an above-average rushing attack with the Jamaal Williams-Aaron Jones tandem. Whether they get to use it against the Vikings, whose 3.7 yards allowed per rush is also second in the NFL, depends on not falling behind and containing Minnesota early.

Bettors should keep an eye on the total as kickoff approaches. The over is 19-14-3 in 36 NFL games this season that had a closing total of less than 40.

The total has gone over in four of the Vikings’ last five games as road favorites. The closing totals in those games ranged between 38.0 and 40.5 – similar to the total for this matchup. The total has gone over in the Packers’ last six games in December.

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.