NFL Wild Card Weekend betting lines reflect recent favorites trend

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Wild Card Weekend has been ruled by favored teams recently – on the field, if not on the board. Favored teams are 10-2 straight-up in wild card games over the last three seasons. At the sportsbooks – and this seems germane with the home teams each laying at least six points this weekend – favorites are a more modest 7-4-1 against the spread.

The 2017 playoffs saw home teams go 4-0 SU and ATS in wild card games. Eighteen of the last 28 wild card games have gone under the posted total, with one push.

The Kansas City Chiefs are listed as 9-point favorites against the Tennessee Titans with a 44-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in a Saturday matchup. The Chiefs are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven playoff games as a favorite, but QB Alex Smith has had a stronger second half of the season than Marcus Mariota, his Titans counterpart.

Tennessee, which is 5-1 ATS in its last six games against the Chiefs, could be compromised offensively if DeMarco Murray (knee) is unable to play and spell off team rushing leader Derrick Henry. The total has gone over in five of the Titans’ last seven games against the Chiefs.

The Los Angeles Rams are 6.5-point betting favorites against the Atlanta Falcons with a 48.5-point total in the late Saturday matchup. The Rams and first-time playoff QB Jared Goff are just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games. However, Los Angeles, which lost its regular-season finale against the San Francisco 49ers, is 5-0 SU in its last five games after a loss.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan, whose team is 10-3 ATS in its last 13 night games, will not have his optimal offensive line in front of him as LG Andy Levitre (triceps) is out for the season. The Rams defense, led by DT Aaron Donald, has the third-highest tally of interceptions. The total has gone under in the Falcons’ last five games.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are nine-point betting favorites against the Buffalo Bills with a 39.5-point total in a Sunday matchup between teams that had a combined 26-year playoff drought (since 1999 for the Bills; 2007 for the Jags). The visiting team is 5-1 ATS in the last six games of this matchup, but Buffalo will likely only stand a chance if RB LeSean McCoy (ankle sprain) is healthy enough to play; there is no way he will be 100 percent.

The Jaguars, who are only 4-13 SU in their last 17 home games against teams with winning records, must hope QB Blake Bortles has some recent regression out of his system. The total has gone over in the Bills’ last five games against the Jaguars.

And the New Orleans Saints are listed as seven-point favorites against the Carolina Panthers with a 48-point total in a late Sunday betting matchup. The Panthers and QB Cam Newton are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six tries against the NFC South rival Saints and also boast the NFL’s 28th-ranked passing attack while the Saints are fifth through the air (each team’s pass defense is right in the middle of the rankings).

New Orleans and veteran QB Drew Brees are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against divisional opponents, as well as 5-0 SU in their last five home playoff games. The total has gone over in six of the Panthers’ last seven games against the Saints. The total has also gone over in five of the Saints’ last six games in the wild card round.

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.

Sunday Night Football odds favor Patriots hosting unbeaten Chiefs

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It’s rare for an unbeaten team to be an underdog this far into the NFL season, and the Kansas City Chiefs have thrived when they get points.

The New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady, are 3.5-point favorites on the Sunday Night Football odds against Kansas City with a 59.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The line isn’t entirely based on mystique, as the OddsShark NFL Database shows that the Patriots are 10-0 straight-up and 9-1 against the spread in their last 10 home games with an average winning margin of 16.0 points, as well as 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games at night. However, the Chiefs and dynamic young quarterback Patrick Mahomes II also have some eye-popping trends, such as being 7-1 SU and ATS in their last eight games as an underdog.

The Chiefs, who have covered every week this season, are also 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games after consecutive ATS wins.

Kansas City, which is 5-0 SU and ATS on the year, has not been contained offensively for four quarters this season, with Mahomes showing one of the livest passing arms the NFL has seen since Aaron Rodgers came into the league. Mahomes and his blocking group will be facing a limited pass rush with the third-fewest sacks in the NFL, although New England is holding opponents to 6.6 yards per pass, third-best in the league.

Running back Kareem Hunt torched the Patriots during a Kansas City win in 2017, and the Patriots’ focus on tight end Travis Kelce could create favorable matchups for Tyreek Hill. The bottom line is that the Chiefs have the capability to win a shootout.

Only three quarterbacks under age 25 have defeated the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the Bill Belichick era – the Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco and the New York Jets’ Mark Sanchez in 2009 and 2010 playoff games, and Colin Kaepernick in 2012 when the San Francisco 49ers were an eventual Super Bowl runner-up.

New England, which is 3-2 SU and 3-2 ATS, typically rounds into form around this stage of this season, as evidenced by a record of 10-2 SU and 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 home games in October. Brady’s offense is facing a Chiefs defense that is hollowed-out at a linebacker and safety with Justin Houston (hamstring) and Eric Berry (heel) both considered doubtful.

The Chiefs have allowed the most yards in the NFL and New England, based on its track record, should be closer to the sum of its parts in the passing phase with tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receivers Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon playing their second game of the season together.

Kansas City’s defensive issues could affect the total, although perhaps not in the way one might expect. The Chiefs are yielding an NFL-worst 5.8 yards per rush and the Patriots may try to grind down the tempo with Brady’s short passing game and runs by rookie running back Sony Michel.

The total has gone OVER in 10 of the Chiefs’ last 14 games at night. The total has gone OVER in six of the Chiefs’ last eight road games as the underdog. The total has gone OVER in seven of the Patriots’ last 10 games at home against teams with winning records.

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.

How to watch Chiefs vs. Patriots on Sunday Night Football

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The New England Patriots are set to host the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in a heavyweight showdown on Sunday Night Football, which airs Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET.

Tom Brady and the Patriots (3-2) come into this big matchup on a two-game winning streak after taking care of business against the Dolphins and Colts at home. More importantly, New England’s offense is starting to hit its stride after trading for wide receiver Josh Gordon and getting wide receiver Julan Edelman back from suspension. Those two weapons, combined with tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back James White, and the emergence of rookie running back Sony Michel give Brady plenty of options in the passing game. However, it remains to be seen if they can keep up with the high-scoring Chiefs.

More coverage of Sunday Night Football

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs (5-0) have taken the NFL by storm. Mahomes began the season by throwing touchdowns at a record pace (13 through Week 3) and didn’t throw his first interception until he faced the vaunted Jaguars defense in Week 5. Similar to Brady, the second-year gunslinger has a plethora of weapons at his disposal, including running back Kareem Hunt and tight end Travis Kelce, in addition to wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins. With so much offensive firepower on both sides of the field, this game could come down to whichever quarterback gets the ball last.

Pregame coverage of Chiefs-Patriots and a recap of Week 6 begins with Football Night in America at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

How to watch Sunday Night Football:

What: Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots

When: Sunday, October 14, 2018

Football Night in America: 7:00 p.m. ET

SNF kickoff: 8:20 p.m ET

Where to watch: NBC, or right here