Bears, Ravens favorites on NFL wild card Sunday

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The playoffs are a different game, and so too are the Chicago Bears’ recent home trend vis-à-vis the team’s historic playoff trend.

The Bears are 6-point betting favorites on the NFL odds against the Philadelphia Eagles with a 41-point total in their NFC wild-card matchup on Sunday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Bears, who won the NFC North under rookie head coach Matt Nagy, are 5-0 straight-up and against the spread in their last five home games, but only 2-6 ATS in their last eight playoff contests, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The Eagles, the defending Super Bowl champions, are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games in January.

The Eagles, 9-7 SU and 6-9-1 ATS this season, seem to be finding their groove behind quarterback Nick Foles and they did defeat a top-ranked defense during their 2017 Super Bowl run, handling the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game. That was at home, though, and these 2018 Eagles aren’t as balanced offensively, with the ground game having the third-worst yards per carry (3.9) in the NFL after finishing fourth in 2017.

Back in the present, Chicago allowed the fourth-lowest rushing average (3.8) and led the league in fewest yards per pass (6.3) and interceptions (27).

The Bears, 12-4 SU and ATS, are more of a blank slate on offense since Trubisky, drafted to be a franchise quarterback, is making his playoff debut against a Super Bowl-seasoned team. But the second-year passer, whose supporting cast includes a diverse ground game with Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard, should be able to pick his spots to really attack an Eagles defense that was 14th in yards per pass (7.4) allowed.

The total has gone UNDER at betting sites in the Bears’ last four games, with an average combined score of 29.75 points.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens are 3-point betting favorites against the Los Angeles Chargers with a 42-point total in an AFC wild-card matchup on Sunday. Since the 2011 season, the Ravens are 7-1 ATS in the playoffs.

The Chargers, who are 12-4 SU and 9-7 ATS, face a 10 a.m. Pacific time kickoff against a Ravens team that held them to 10 points in their home environment two weeks ago. Quarterback Philip Rivers has led them to a 6-0 SU record in their last six road games, but he and running back Melvin Gordon are facing a Baltimore defense that was third in both fewest yards per carry (3.7) and yards per pass (6.3).

The AFC North-winning Ravens are 10-6 SU and 8-8 ATS, finding their form in the second half of the season after rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson became the starter. Jackson faces a Chargers defense that is 12th in yards per rush (4.3) and ninth in yards per pass (7.1).

Trends-wise, the Ravens are just 1-5 ATS in their last six home games, with outright losses against the only two teams (New Orleans and Pittsburgh) that they faced who had winning records. Bettors face a choice between putting stock in the 7-1 ATS record Baltimore compiled under coach John Harbaugh from 2011 to 2014, or opting to fade the Ravens due to a 4-14 SU record in their last 18 games after consecutive wins.

The total has gone UNDER in the Ravens’ last six playoff games at home.

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.

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.