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.

Rams’ Whitworth rewards local students with bikes

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Los Angeles Rams’ Andrew Whitworth celebrated his 36th birthday in an unconventional way this year. Instead of receiving gifts, the offensive tackle donated nearly 600 bikes and helmets to Grape Street Elementary School in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Whitworth had 18-wheelers deliver the gifts and was in attendance to tell the children the good news.

In order to not leave any Walmart without bikes ahead of the holiday season, Whitworth went to multiple stores.

The children returned the favor by giving Whitworth a cake and singing him “Happy Birthday.”

Whitworth is in his first year in Los Angeles after signing a three-year contract with the Rams earlier this year. The 12-year veteran’s charity, the Big Whit 77 Foundation,  partners with students to challenge them to get good grades.

NFL Week 11 odds roundup: Panthers, Redskins, Raiders primetime favorites

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The determining factor in a matchup between the Cam Newton-led Carolina Panthers and Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints might well be which team can slow down the opposing quarterback.

The Panthers are three-point favorites against the Saints on Thursday night at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The form suggests each quarterback could go off for 300-plus yards – which says plenty about a pair of poor pass defenses – but the Panthers have been getting to quarterbacks more often and still have a decent run defense.

The Panthers are 8-3 against the spread in their 11 home games, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

The Washington Redskins are the 2.5-point favorite against the Green Bay Packers in the Sunday night matchup. However, one of these weeks, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will fix their issues, and Washington’s run defense is spotty.

Washington and quarterback Kirk Cousins, who are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite, will have tight end Jordan Reed closer to full speed in his second game back from injury.

The Oakland Raiders are favored by six points against the Houston Texans in the Monday Night Football game at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

The Raiders are 4-14 straight-up in their last 18 games after consecutive wins. However, quarterback Derek Carr and running back Latavius Murray thrived two weeks ago against the Denver Broncos, who, like the Texans, struggle to stop the run but have a highly-rated pass defense.

The Arizona Cardinals-Minnesota Vikings matchup is a pick’em. The Cardinals, led by quarterback Carson Palmer and running back David Johnson, will need to be less boom-or-bust offensively against a strong Vikings defense.

Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford might not be able to do enough to overcome being saddled with having the NFL’s worst running game against linebacker Deone Bucannon and Arizona’s fleet defense.

The Seattle Seahawks are favored by 6.5 points against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles will need quarterback Carson Wentz, tight end Zach Ertz and wide receiver Jordan Matthews to attack the seams in Seattle’s pass defense in order to open up other opportunities.

Seattle is 5-1 ATS in their last six games after winning as an underdog, but the Eagles’ pass rush is one of the NFL’s best. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots’ pass rush, whom quarterback Russell Wilson carved up last week, is one of the worst.

And finally, the Miami Dolphins are one-point road favorites against the Los Angeles Rams as No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff readies for his first start as the Rams’ quarterback. For Miami to end an 0-5 SU and ATS streak in road games following a road win, they will need to neutralize Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald in order to help running back Jay Ajayi and quarterback Ryan Tannehill be productive.