Vikings, Patriots Betting Favorites for NFL Conference Championships

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Bettors will have to decide how much stock to put in the home-team streak in the NFL’s conference championship games.

The visiting team is 0-8 straight-up in the last eight conference championship games, as well as 0-5 against the spread in the last five. Overall the visiting teams are 6-9 SU in the NFC Championship Game over the last 15 years and 3-12 SU in the AFC Championship Game.

The Minnesota Vikings are listed as three-point road favorites against the Philadelphia Eagles with a 39-point total in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Vikings are 14-3 SU and 11-6 ATS on the year, which includes being 9-3 ATS over their last 12 games as QB Case Keenum has taken over as their leader. Keenum will need a turnover-free game. The Vikings, who are 5-2 SU and ATS as a favorite of 3.0 or fewer points since November 2015, face a challenge offensively against the Eagles’ No. 4-ranked defense and DT Fletcher Cox in a January football environment.

However, their pass protection has been strong all season and typically it doesn’t take too many steamboats for one receiver among WR Stefon Diggs, WR Adam Thielen, TE Kyle Rudolph or RB Jerick McKinnon to get open.

The Eagles, also 14-3 SU and 11-6, are underdogs by dint of having scored fewer than 20 points in three consecutive games with backup QB Nick Foles. With the divisional road win against the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games as a playoff underdog.

The Eagles’ hopes probably rest on C Jason Kelce and the offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage against Minnesota’s front four and DT Linval Joseph. Foles’ best receiver, WR Alshon Jeffery, has typically had success against Minnesota, but will face a top cover corner, Xavier Rhodes. Vikings SS Andrew Sendejo (head) is expected to play.

The total has gone under in eight of the Vikings’ last nine games on the road in January, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The total has gone under in six of the Eagles’ last seven games in January.

The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are 8.5-point favorites against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a 46-point total in the AFC Championship Game earlier on Sunday.

The Jaguars, 12-6 SU and 10-8 ATS, will be trying to defy a trend where visiting teams are 3-10 SU and 5-8 ATS in the playoffs against New England since the 2009 postseason. Getting traction in the rushing phase, where RB Leonard Fournette is facing a run defense that gave up 4.7 yards a pop (second-worst) during the regular season, will be paramount, since few teams ever successfully play catch-up against New England.

Jacksonville won’t be counting on QB Blake Bortles to have a 300-yard day, but just make high-percentage throws and convert the manageable third downs.

The Patriots are 14-3 SU and 12-5 ATS, but coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady are facing a Jaguars defense that was No. 2 overall and first against the pass by a fair margin. New England, which is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 games, relies on crossing and seam routes to generate chances for the likes of TE Rob Gronkowski, but Jacksonville is very fluid in its coverage thanks to SS Barry Church, CB A.J. Bouye, CB Jalen Ramsey and OLB Myles Jack.

The teams that have conquered New England in the playoffs have usually had a Cadillac pass rush – think 2015 Denver Broncos – and Jacksonville has that, as its regular-season tally of 55 sacks attests.

The Jaguars, however, were 26th during the regular season in opponents’ yards per carry and New England could pivot to a run-heavy offense to soften up defenders for the pass. If the Patriots use that tack and it works, it could lead to them continuing their trend of being 2-6 ATS in their last eight AFC Championship Game appearances. It could also increase the likelihood of the total finishing under.

The total has gone under in five of the Jaguars’ last seven games on the road against teams with winning records. The total has gone under in six of the Patriots’ last seven games in the conference championship round.

For more odds info, 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 check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Patriots settle as small favorites on Super Bowl odds 2019

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For all the narratives that can hang off the great Tom Brady and Super Bowl first-timer Jared Goff, two of the big moving parts in the matchup on Super Sunday involve the rushing phase.

The New England Patriots have settled as 2.5-point favorites on the Super Bowl odds 2019 against the Los Angeles Rams with a 56.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in the Super Bowl 53 matchup slated for Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sunday.

The Bill Belichick- and Brady-led Patriots are 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games as a favorite of 3.0 or fewer points, according to the OddsShark NFL Database, while the Rams are 4-3 straight-up and ATS in their last seven games as an underdog. Interestingly enough, underdogs are 13-4 ATS in the last 17 Super Bowl games.

As so often happens, the last two teams standings are in good health. The biggest exception for New England, whose run defense has been league-average much of the season, is that defensive tackle Malcom Brown (calf) was limited in practice. The Rams claim leading rusher Todd Gurley (left knee inflammation) is 100 per cent after he had only five touches during the NFC championship game two weeks ago.

Backing the Patriots, who are 13-5 SU and 11-7 ATS on the year, involves putting stock in Brady and cohorts’ abundant Super Bowl experience, along with the fact the offense has been at peak form, averaging 38.7 points and 465.7 yards per game over its last three outings.

The Patriots’ offensive line will arguably be the unofficial playoff MVP, collectively, if it contains the Rams’ front four anchored by Aaron Donald, the best defensive lineman in football. If Brady, the subject of many Super Bowl props for Sunday, isn’t disrupted and/or the opposing pass rush is sucking wind after a ball-control drive, the Patriots passing game is lethal.

The Rams, 15-3 SU and 9-7-2 ATS, are new to the tumult of the Super Bowl. However, head coach Sean McVay thrives at creating mismatches, and two of the Rams’ season-long strengths, running out one-back, one-tight end sets and using play-action passes, are not tactics that New England has defended particularly well.

Goff also led five game-winning drives during the season, emerging victorious in quarterback matchups against stars such as Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson (twice).

The total has gone OVER in seven of the Patriots’ last eight games in the playoffs. New England’s last four closely contested playoff games have featured 68, 74, 44 and 62 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.

First commercial, Trump Tweets, Gatorade color among Super Bowl LIII props

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Fans watch the Super Bowl for the commercials as much as the game, which also lends itself to Super Bowl props.

For instance, Bud Light is the -105 favorite have a commercial appear first during the telecast at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The brewer has a long track record of attention-getting ads, and making a first impression can whet the appetite for something later on in the evening.

Budweiser (+200) is a second favorite on that prop and there might be longshot value on Stella Artois (+550), whose ad will include Jeff Bridges and Sarah Jessica Parker reprising their respective roles from The Big Lebowski and Sex and the City. Michelob Ultra (+550) and Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer (+550) are also on the board.

The total number of commercials is set at 96, with both the over and under priced at -120. In the car commercial prop, Hyundai (-250) is favored against Mercedes-Benz (+170), but it might be worth playing a hunch since the February 3 game is at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Atlanta has also been hit by wintry weather this week, and it’s -140 on the Super Bowl 2019 prop bets on the stadium’s roof being closed against even money for open.

The previous two championship matchups each had over 60 points scored, and the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams are certainly capable of trading touchdowns. It is -140 that any scoring drive will consume less game time than however long it will take Gladys Knight to perform The Star-Spangled Banner.

As far as coach props, the over/under is 1.5 on broadcaster references to the relative youthfulness of 33-year-old Rams coach Sean McVay, with the over (-220) favored against the under (+155). Los Angeles is the underdog on the 2019 Super Bowl odds.

There is also a total set for the number of tweets from President Donald Trump’s Twitter account during the big game. Over 6.0 tweets is a -140 favorite with the under an even-money underdog. It is -650 on Trump not attending the game and +375 on him showing up. He did not attend Super Bowl LII in 2018.

A cross-sport bet is whether Houston Rockets star James Harden’s streak of 30-point games – 24 and counting – will end before Super Bowl LIII does, with -120 odds either way. Harden’s next two opponents, the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz, have each managed to keep him under 30 at least once this season.

As far as props that pay off postgame are concerned, there is the ever-popular bet on what color liquid the winning coach will be doused in after the game. Clear / water (+220) is a slim favorite over lime / green / yellow (+225), followed by orange (+400), blue (+400), red (+600) and purple (+1000). The Patriots, for what it might be worth, have poured a clear liquid on coach Bill Belichick following each of their four most recent Super Bowl wins.

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.