Tess Quinlan

Patriots set as early betting favorites on Super Bowl odds

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Both teams won conference championship games on the road in overtime, but the way that the New England Patriots went about it, along with their well-earned reputation, has led to some early line movement on the Super Bowl odds.

New England, playing in their ninth Super Bowl in the last 18 seasons with Tom Brady at quarterback, are now 2.5-point betting favorites against the Los Angeles Rams with a 57-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for the February 3 contest at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta

New England, which has seen the line move in their favor this week, outgained the Kansas City Chiefs by 150-plus yards in regulation time in the AFC championship game and are 9-3 against the spread in their last 12 playoff games, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. However, they are 3-3 SU and 1-5 ATS as a favorite in the Super Bowl.

The Rams are 4-0 ATS in their last four games and 8-0 straight-up in their last eight games against AFC teams.

The Patriots, who are 13-5 SU and 11-7 ATS on the season, scored 78 points over two playoff wins that reflected the adage that lines wins championships. New England’s offensive line, anchored by tackles Trent Brown and Shaq Mason, cleared the way for Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead to furnish the rushing attack that makes Brady lethal in big games.

The Rams have dominant defensive tackle Aaron Donald in the interior of their defense, but it’s not clear whether a team that allowed a NFL-worst 5.1 yards per rush in the regular season will be able to match up against an opponent that uses two-back and/or two-tight-end sets with such great frequency.

The Rams, who are 15-3 SU and 9-7-2 ATS, are likely not being underestimated with the current line, but that might change if it swells to greater than a field-goal margin. With a relatively mistake-proof quarterback, Jared Goff, and an at-times devastating rushing attack with Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, the Rams might be equipped to avoid having to play from behind, a pratfall that befell both New England opponents.

The Patriots have scored only three first-quarter points in eight Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Super Bowls and a recurrence of that trend could help the Rams settle in, especially if the Atlanta crowd adopts them as the home team.

Interestingly enough, the teams’ previous matchup in Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 started a run where underdogs are 13-4 on the point spread, which also includes being 6-1 SU in the last seven games.

The total has gone OVER in seven of the Patriots’ last eight games in the playoffs, and has also gone OVER in their last three Super Bowls. The total has also gone OVER in five of the Rams’ last seven games as the underdog.

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.

Michael Jordan chimes in on GOAT debate between Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers

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In order to have a proper discussion about the Greatest of All Time, there’s one definitive voice that cannot be ignored:

Michael Jordan.

The legendary NBA player has some thoughts about how we evaluate who the GOAT is ahead of the Aaron Rodgers-Tom Brady showdown next weekend on Sunday Night Football in Foxborough.

Jordan admits it’s a tough call, with very little separating the two quarterbacks, including the exact same jersey numbers.

MJ acknowledges the best way for the debate to be settled is to see what happens on the football field.

See you Sunday, Michael.

Chelsea vs. Arsenal in spotlight on Premier League Matchweek 2 Betting Lines

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With both teams under new sideline leadership, it could be a good time to take a chance on Arsenal flipping the script against Chelsea.

Chelsea is a -130 favorite on the EPL Matchweek 2 betting lines with Arsenal coming back at +335 for Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The draw offers +285 on the three-way moneyline and the total is 3.0 goals. Chelsea is 5-0-1 in its last six EPL home games against Arsenal, but that trend took place under Arsene Wenger and the Gunners are now adapting to new manager Unai Emery.

Chelsea, which is also adapting to new manager Maurizio Sarri, won comfortably in its opener against lightweight Huddersfield Town, with Eden Hazard (+150 to score any time, +500 to score the first goal) showing great form. Laying chalk is defensible, but there is something to be said for being experimental in the early phase of the season.

Both newly promoted Cardiff City (+210) and Newcastle (+145, draw +205) could be anxious to avoid having nothing to show after two games, which could lead to a low-risk game. The host Bluebirds are -180 on the double chance as manager Neil Warnock attempts to get his first win against Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez, coming in 0-4-1 all-time.

Tottenham at -400 on the Premier League odds this weekend, hopeful that Harry Kane has played off some of the post-World Cup rust, could open the floodgates against Fulham (+1000, draw +475), which is still adjusting to the top flight. There is good value with Tottenham at minus-1.5 goals (-130) and over on the 3.0 total (-125).

Everton (-115) has some relief on the injury front since Richarlison (calf) might be good to go against Southampton (+350, draw +235). Everton also has six clean sheets in its last 13 home fixtures against the Saints, suggesting there’s value with the under on the 2.5 goals total (-145) and on Everton keeping a clean sheet (+125).

Burnley (+135) hosts Watford (+230, draw +200) in a Sunday matchup which will be just three days after the Clarets won an Europa League match. Burnley has three clean sheets in a row and has won or drew seven of its last eight matches against Watford, whose away record last season would make a skeptic of anyone. Whether playing in Europe for the first time in 52 years affects Burnley likely won’t come into play just yet.

Brighton (+425) beat Manchester United (-135, draw +245) in their home fixture last season, albeit for it only the second time in 19 tries. Brighton (+110 on the double chance) might have a nothing-to-lose attitude while heavily favored Manchester United works to rebuild cohesion as Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young re-integrate into the lineup.

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.