NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

NFL Page Week 17

Panthers (11-4) @ Falcons (4-11) —
Carolina won NFC South with dramatic win last week, but can still get #1 seed if they win here and Rams upset Seahawks later in day. Panthers hammered Atlanta 34-10 (-7.5) in Week 9, with four takeaways (+2), 15-yard edge in field position. Carolina won four of last five road games, with last two wins by total of five points. Falcons covered last four tries as underdog, after being 1-4 in first five; underdogs covered last five Atlanta games; Falcons lost by 10 in SF Monday, is on a short week as dismal season comes to end. Carolina lost last five visits here, with four of five losses by 8+ points. Home teams are 9-1 vs spread in NFC South games, 2-1 if underdogs. Six of last seven Carolina games stayed under the total; five of seven Atlanta home games went over.

Packers (7-7-1) @ Bears (8-7) — Winner-take-all in NFC North; if game ends in a tie, Chicago wins division- they beat Pack 27-20 (+10.5) in Week 9, when Packers lost Rodgers for rest of season. Bears had 442 TY that night, as Pack scored only one TD on three trips to red zone, in first loss to Bears in last seven series games. Packers won last three visits here, by 7-10-8 points; series has been swept 8 of last 12 years. Chicago had chance to clinch division last week but laid egg in 54-11 loss at Philly; Bears are 5-2 at home, with five of seven games decided by six points or less. Favorites are 7-3 vs spread in NFC North divisional games, 5-3 at home. Four of last five Packer games, five of last six Chicago games went over the total. No line posted yet as I type this; Rodgers' status will be determined later in week.

Texans (2-13) @ Titans (6-9) — If you own the Texans, you order the coach to lose this game to guarantee #1 pick in draft, right? Houston (-7.5) beat Titans 30-24 in OT in Week 2, were 2-0, haven’t won since; they outrushed Tennessee 172-119, outgained them by 204 yards, surviving a -2 turnover ratio, but now they’re a pathetic 2-12-1 vs spread, 1-5-1 on road, losing away games by 21-31-1-3-7-22 points. Coach got fired, QB got benched, then got his job back when backup got hurt. Texans won three of last four visits here; season series was split four of last five years. Titans are 2-3 vs spread this year in game following a win; they’re 3-2-1 when favored this year, 1-1-1 at home- they’ve lost last five home games after winning first two. Houston has two takeaways (-8) in its last six games; Titans have two (-8) in last four games. AFC South home teams are 4-5-1 vs spread in divisional games, 2-3 when favored. Over is 6-2-1 in last nine Titan games, 5-3 in last eight Texan tilts.

Browns (4-11) @ Steelers (7-8) — Pitt needs lot of help but is still alive/kicking for playoff spot; they’re 7-4 in last 11 games after 0-4 start, scoring 30-38 points last two weeks, stopping Packers on goal line in last minute last week- they scored TD on defense/special teams in four of last five games, and covered six of last seven, but were underdogs in five of six covers.  Pitt is 4-3 at home, 2-2 as home favorites, winning at Heinz by 3-13-10-10 points. Cleveland is 0-6 (1-5 vs spread) since its Week 10 bye, losing last three road games by 21-1-11 points; they’re 3-4 as road underdogs, with only road win in Week 3 at Metrodome when Hoyer was QB. Browns lost last nine visits here, with eight of nine by 11+ points; they’re 3-24 in last 27 series games. Steelers were -11 in turnovers the first four weeks, are +7 since; they’ve scored 27+ points in five of last six games. AFC North home teams are 8-2 vs spread in divisional games, 5-2 when favored. Six of last eight Cleveland games, last four Steeler games went over total.

Redskins (3-12) @ Giants (6-9) — Miserable season ends for Redskins, who lost last seven games, last two by single point each; they’re 1-4 as road underdogs this year, losing on road by 18-15-24-7-8-1 points, winning only 24-14 at Oakland (-3) in Week 4. Not only that, but Rams have their #1 pick in April. Giants are 6-3 in last nine games after 0-6 start; they’re 3-4 as favorites this year, 2-3 at home, with home wins by 16-4-14 points- four teams that beat them in Swamp are all still alive for playoffs. Skins’ two TDs last week were on short fields (33-43 yards); they’ve lost four of last five visits to Swamp, and lost 24-17 (+1) at home to Giants four weeks ago. Big Blue ran ball 35 times for 66 yards in last two games combined, scoring one TD on 26 drives, with 12 three/outs; only a pick-6 in last 5:00 last week got them to OT against generous Lions at Ford Field. NFC East home teams are 5-5 vs spread in divisional games, 4-4 if favored. Three of last four Giant games, four of last six Redskin games stayed under the total.

Ravens (8-7) @ Bengals (10-5) — Baltimore needs this game to make playoffs, but Cincy is just third team ever (’52 Lions/’00 Rams) to score 40+ points in four straight home games in same year; they’re 7-0 SU/ATS at home, winning at home by average score of 34-17, beating Brady/Rodgers/Big Ben/Luck. Five of their seven home wins are by 10+ points. Bengals are this good despite having advantage in field position in only four of 15 games. Ravens had 4-game win streak snuffed out by Patriots last week; they’ve scored only one TD on 24 drives in last two games, as Flacco’s bum left knee, has made him immobile in pocket. Bengals (+1) lost 20-17 at Baltimore in Week 10, with 134 Cincy penalty yards offsetting 364-189 edge in total yardage; series has been swept five of last eight years. Ravens lost three of last four visits here, losing by 10-5-6 points; AFC North home teams are 8-2 vs spread in divisional games, 5-2 if favored. Three of last four Raven games, four of last five Bengal games went over the total.

Jaguars (4-11) @ Colts (10-5) — Indy is playing in playoffs next week unless Patriots stumble against Buffalo and Colts get bye; Indy played very good defense last two weeks, allowing one TD on 24 drives with 12 three/outs in last two games- they hammered Jax 37-3 (-9) back in Week 4, with four sacks, three takeaways and a defensive TD, but Jags won last two visits here, 17-3/22-17 in season series that split in six of last 11 years. Jaguars are 4-3 in second half of season after 0-8 start; their last five games were all decided by 7 or less points. Jax covered its last four road games, won SU in last three, with only loss 35-19 at Denver (+27). Bradley has done good job keeping team playing hard, but they’ve also given up 190 rushing yards/game in last two weeks, a red flag. Colts are 5-2 SU at home, 2-3 as home favorite, with home wins by 4-6-6-8-22 points, with losses to Dolphins/Rams. AFC South home favorites are 4-5-1 vs spread in divisional games, 2-3 if favored. Over is 8-3 in last eleven Jaguar games, 1-3 in last four Indy games.

Eagles (9-6) @ Cowboys (8-7) — Orton starts at QB for Dallas, with a 41-year old Algebra teacher (Kitna) backing him up, so spread swung 8 points with Romo expected to be sidelined with lumbar disk problem. Dallas allowed 21+ points in each of last eight games since pummeling Eagles 17-3 (+3) in Week 7, KO’ing Foles with concussion while outgaining Iggles 368-278 in game that was 3-0 Pokes at half. Philly won six of last seven games, crushing Bears 54-11 last week in meaningless game for them, huge game for Chicago; Eagles are 5-2 on road, 3-1 as road favorites; this is only their third game on carpet all year- they won 36-21 (+2.5) at Swamp in Week 5, then got pounded 48-30 at Metrodome (-6) two weeks ago. Dallas allowed 35 ppg over last three games; with LB Lee out, can they stand up vs Eagle running attack? Orton has NFL experience (35-34 record in 69 career starts) so Cowboys aren’t destitute here, but tough spot for Orton to step into. NFC East home teams are 5-5 vs spread in divisional games, 1-1 if home dogs. Seven of last eight Dallas games, last three Philly games went over total.

NY Jets (7-8) @ Dolphins (8-7) — Road team won six of last eight series games; Jets won five of last seven visits here, but lost 23-3 (-1.5) at home to Miami four weeks ago, outgained 453-177 with a -2 turnover ratio. Fish had 16-yard advantage in field position, held Jets to 2.4 ypa. Miami needs  a win and help to make playoffs after laying egg in Buffalo last week; all seven of their home games decided by 4 or less points, with Fish 4-3 SU, 1-2 as home favorites. Bills said they had Taneyhill’s snap counts last week, leading to shutout win that ended Dolphins’ 3-game win streak. Jets turned ball over only three times in last three games; they’re +3 in turnovers in their seven wins, -20 in eight losses. Miami has one takeaway in six of its last seven games, with first Jet game (three TAs) the 7th game. This is only third game on grass this year for Jets; they lost 38-13 (+3.5) at Tennessee in Week 4, lost 30-20 (+10) at Carolina two weeks ago. AFC North home favorites are 4-4 against spread in divisional games. Under is 7-1-1 in last nine Miami games, 3-6 in last nine Jet games.

Lions (7-8) @ Vikings (4-10-1) — Seems like long time ago, but Detroit (-5) beat Vikings 34-24 on Opening Day, passing for 352 yards with four takeaways (+2) that helped them to 15-yard advantage in field position, but roof fell in on both teams since, with Detroit -18 in turnovers over its last eight games. Lions lost five of last six weeks, with only win over Rodgers-less Packers on Thanksgiving; they’re 3-4 on road, with all seven games on natural grass. Detroit allowed only one offensive TD on 24 drives in last two games, but offense has been turning ball over so much, they’ve self-destructed, and now a coaching change looms. Lions are 1-14 in last 15 visits to Metrodome, which closes down after this game; four of their last five losses here were by 10+ points. Vikings got crushed in Cincinnati last week, after spanking Eagles here week before; they won last three home games, averaging 35 ppg. NFC North favorites are 7-3-1 vs spread in divisional games, 5-3-1 at home. 13 of 15 Viking games this season went over the total.

Bills (6-9) @ Patriots (11-4) — NE needs win to keep bye next week, which is huge; they snuck past Bills 23-21 (-9.5) in season opener, outgaining Bills by 145 yards, converting 11-20 on 3rd down, but scoring only two TDs on five red zone drives, with Bills scoring a long defensive TD to stay close. Patriots won 19 of last 20 series games including last 12 played here, but three of last four in Foxboro were decided by 8 or less points- they’re 4-2 as home favorites, winning home games by 3-20-3-10-24-3-1 point. Misleading score last week; Pats won 41-7, but scored two defensive TDs late and had only one TD drive of more than 53 yards. Buffalo won last two games, blanking Miami last week; they’re 1-5 as road underdogs this year, losing on road by 7-13-18-13-21 points, with wins at Miami/Jaguars. Bills ran ball for 198/203 yards in last two games and held six of last seven opponents under 5.0 yards/pass attempt, but this is it for them, while Pats sharpening up for postseason. Five of seven Buffalo road games, four of last five Patriot games went over total.

Bucs (4-11) @ Saints (10-5) — New Orleans needs win to make playoffs; they’ve lost three of last four games but are 7-0 at home (6-0-1 ATS), with five of seven home wins by 18+ points. Saints (-3) nipped Bucs 16-14 in Week 2 at Tampa, game that was delayed early on by T-storms- NO scored nine points on four red zone drives, keeping Bucs in game when they completed only 9-22 passes. Tampa lost last four series games, losing 27-16/41-0 in last two visits here; they’re 4-3 in second half of year after 0-8 start, 2-4 as road dogs, losing away games by 1-20-8-3-21-10 points, with win at Detroit. Ryan’s defense has only three takeaways (-9) in its last eight games; shortest TD drive for Saints in last five games is 71 yards. Bucs ran ball 35 times for 98 yards in last two games, leading to field position deficits of 18/20 yards; over last seven games, they’re 20-86 on 3rd down. Home teams are 9-1 vs spread in NFC South divisional games, 6-1 if favored. Last six Saint games, four of last five Buccaneer games stayed under the total.

Broncos (13-2) @ Raiders (4-11) — Pryor gets nod at QB for Oakland, but his agent claims they’re setting him up to fail, as chaos continues to reign in Bay Area. Denver needs to win if Patriots won at 1:00, to clinch home field thru AFC playoffs; Broncos won four of last five visits here, with all five games decided by 13+ points. Denver (-15) beat Oakland 37-21 in Week 3 despite -2 turnover ratio, running ball for 164 yards while piling up 31 first downs and 536 TY. Broncos are 5-2 on road, 4-3 as road favorites, winning away games by 18-3-8-7-24 points. Raiders lost last five games (1-4 vs spread); they’re 3-4 at home, but lost last three home games by 29-4-25 points. In their last four games, Broncos outscored opponents 83-31 in second half; in their last two games, 40 of their 44 first downs came on 1st/2nd down- they missed injured WR Welker (concussion) on 3rd down, converting only four of last 20 on that down. Favorites are 7-3 vs spread in AFC West games, 3-1 on road. Over is 6-1-1 in last eight Oakland games, 5-2 in Denver road games.

49ers (11-4) @ Cardinals (10-5) — Games in Seattle/New Orleans will affect tenor of this game; Cardinals need Bucs to upset Saints in Superdome for them to have playoff shot, while 49ers can win division if they win and Rams were to upset Seattle. Arizona is 3-0-1 as home favorite this year, with only loss in seven home games 34-22 on a Thursday night to Seattle. Cardinals won last four home games, scoring a defensive TD in each of last three. Niners won last five games, clinching playoff spot late Monday night with red zone stop vs Atlanta; 49ers are 5-2 on road, losing at Seattle/New Orleans. Redbirds (+11) turned ball over four times (-2) in 32-20 loss at Candlestick in Week 6; Niners had 16-yard edge in field position, in game where Cards outgained them 403-387, but 11 of 14 Redbird drives started 80+ yards from goal line. Series has been swept eight of last nine years; 49ers won three of last four visits here. NFL West home teams are 6-4 vs spread in divisional games this year. Six of last seven 49er games, three of last four Arizona games stayed under the total.

Chiefs (11-4) @ Chargers (8-7) — Spread is out of whack because KC is locked into #5 seed next week, while San Diego needs win/Cincinnati win to make playoffs, so by kickoff you’ll know whether Bolts have shot to make playoffs, but zero motivation for Chiefs to play anyone who is banged up. Chargers (+3.5) outscored Chiefs 31-24 in second half of 41-38 win at Arrowhead in Week 12, sixth straight series win for San Diego. KC lost last five visits to Qualcomm, with three losses by 18+ points. Chiefs were 9-0 at their bye, are 2-4 since, with -4 turnover ratio last week, after being +21 in first 14 games. KC scored 101 points in winning last two road games; they’re 6-1 on foreign soil, with only road loss 27-17 at Denver. Chargers scored 30 ppg in staying alive with three straight wins; they’re 4-3 at home, with Week 1 loss to 2-13 Texans (led 21-7 at half) now looming as a damaging blow. Favorites are 7-3 vs spread in AFC West divisional games, 4-2 at home. Four of last five Chief games went over total; five of last seven San Diego games stayed under.

Rams (7-8) @ Seahawks (12-3) — Seattle needs win here or an Arizona win to clinch division, home field thru NFC playoffs. Seahawks lost two of last three games after 11-1 start; they’re 4-3 as home favorites, losing at home for first time last week- they’ve got four home wins by 21+ points. Rams had ball inside Seattle’s 10-yard line on last play but didn’t score in Week 9’s 14-9 Monday night home loss, first game Clemens started after Bradford’s knee injury; St Louis is 2-5 vs spread on road this year, 1-2 with Clemens starting- their road losses are by 7-24-15-10-20 points. Rams are +17 in turnovers in their seven wins, -7 in eight losses; without their franchise QB, need to create turnovers/special teams plays to win, and Austin hasn’t been playing, which hurts special teams. Seattle won 15 of last 17 series games, winning last eight played here, with six of eight by 10+ points. Last Ram win here was ’04 playoff game. Home favorites are 4-2 vs spread in NFC West divisional games. Last four games for both teams stayed under the total.

Armadillosports.com

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

NFL Football: Streaks, Tips, Notes
Sportspic.com

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

Baltimore Ravens fighting for their playoff lives have an uphill battle heading into Cincinnati. The Bengals would like nothing better than send the Super Bowl Champions packing for the season. Bengals with a chance at improving overall seeding and being dominant on home fField (7-0 SU/ATS) racking up 34.4 points/game while holding visitors to 16.7 per/contest there is little reason to think it won't happen. Ravens struggling on the road (2-5, 3-4 ATS) scoring 20.7 per/game, the Bengals recording 40 or more points in each of their last four home dates winning by an average margin of 25.7 easy to see the defending champions’ season ending Sunday. Consider laying the expected 6.0 to 7.0 points knowing Bengals are 4-1-1 ATS as home favorite of 7.5 or less vs a division opponent, have a 3-0 ATS streak as home favorite avenging an early division loss and hit the field a profitable 4-1 ATS following a win by 21 or more points, 6-2 ATS last eight hosting Black Crows. 

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Two squads with coaches on the hot seat collide at the Metrodome on Sunday. Detroit’s Jim Schwartz is firmly on the hot seat after a late-season meltdown that has Lions eliminated having lost five of their last six games cashing a single ticket (1-5 ATS). On the other side, Leslie Frazier may be coaching his last game for Boat-Men after suffering a 42-14 spanking in Cincinnati which brought the record to 4-10-1 on the campaign (8-7 ATS), 20-32-1 since taking over from Brad Childress in mid-season 2010 (25-25-3 ATS). Detroit always finding ways to beat themselves both on the field and at the betting window a 'Play-Against' Lions is in order. Detroit has failed to cover the point spread in 7 of their last 8 games played in the month of December under head coach Jim Schwartz. The Lions have also failed to cover the point spread in 6 of their last 8 games against teams with a losing record. And in their last 12 games away from Ford Field, Detroit has failed to cover the point spread in 8 of these contests (4-7-1 ATS). Look for Vikings to improve it's 7-3 ATS stretch at the Metrodome, 7-1 ATS mark in December, 5-2 ATS record revenging a division loss.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Eagles and Cowboys square off in a battle for the NFC East title. Dallas opened as 2.5 point underdog but Tony Romo reportedly out the rest of the season with a back injury that line has since jumped as high as +7.5. Might be a good thing Romo is out. Maybe Kyle Orton can improve Cowboys' 9-24 ATS skid in December games which includes a miserable 3-12 ATS mark on home field. Cowboys with the leagues worst defense going up against an Eagle offense that has averaged 31.1 points/game last seven (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) wouldn't put too much faith in Cowboys improving the 1-5 ATS December skid hosting Philadelphia.

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

Sharp Moves - Week 17
By Mike Rose
VegasInsider.com

We're getting ready to head into another weekend of NFL betting action, and as always, there are a bunch of plays that are a lot sharper than others. Check out some of the best and brightest plays that are on the board in Week 17!

All public betting percentages courtesy of VegasInsider.com as of Thursday morning.

San Diego -9½ - It's a tough game to bet, because it legitimately might not mean a thing to either of these teams. We have yet to hear from Head Coach Andy Reid as to whether or not his full side will be playing on Sunday or not, but regardless, the Bolts are the rightfully favored side. The Chargers know that losses by both Miami and Baltimore would setup a position where it's win and in, lose and out. Otherwise, this game will just be for the pride of beating a playoff team and finishing above .500. The Chiefs have squat to play for and will end up being the #5 seed regardless.

Opening Line: San Diego -9½
Current Line: San Diego -9½
Public Betting Percentage: 67% on Kansas City

Cleveland +7 - It's tough to believe that the Browns are the sharp team in this game, but here in this situation where the Steelers need a win and a whole heck of a lot of help just to keep their season alive, bettors are going with the public team. Sure, it definitely looks as though Cleveland has given up on the season, but the Steelers flat out just aren't all that good. They had to struggle to take care of the Packers last week on the road, and though Green Bay might very well end up being a playoff team as well, it certainly isn't one of the best 12 sides in the NFL with QB Matt Flynn calling the shots.

Opening Line: Cleveland +7
Current Line: Cleveland +7
Public Betting Percentage: 64% on Pittsburgh

Jacksonville +11½ - The Jaguars know that they have had nothing to play for in quite some time, but they have really been a much better team in the second half of the season than they were in the first half. Indianapolis probably has very little to play for, and though we don't expect that it is going to give up in this game, we wouldn't be surprised if the actual motivation on the field might not be quite as high as it will be next week in the opening round of the playoffs. The Jags were crippled the first time around when these teams met, but that was back in September. The Colts don't have nearly as much to play for barring miracles in the form of losses by New England and Cincinnati this week.

Opening Line: Jacksonville +13
Current Line: Jacksonville +11½
Public Betting Percentage: 58% on Indianapolis

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

NFL Week 17: Games That Matter
By Covers.com

As the NFL reaches the final week of the regular season, more than half the teams in the league still have something to play for.

Whether it's a playoff spot, a first-round bye or home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs, teams have a variety of motivations entering Week 17. Some control their own fate, while others need a little - or a lot - of help to realize their postseason dreams.

Here's a look at the games that matter as the season winds down Sunday:

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-6, 44.5)

The Bengals have already clinched the AFC North title, but have a first-round bye in their sights. To land one, they'll need a home victory against the Ravens, combined with a New England Patriots loss in their season finale against Buffalo. The Ravens face a more harrowing path to the playoffs; they need either a win combined with a San Diego or Miami loss, or defeats by the Chargers, Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers if they fall in Cincinnati.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (+6, 45)

The Panthers face a wide range of outcomes. A victory or a New Orleans loss against Tampa Bay would secure the NFC South championship. Carolina also has an outside shot at the top seed in the NFC and home-field advantage all the way to the Super Bowl, but would need a win over the visiting Falcons combined with losses by the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-5.5, 41)

Miami doesn't control its destiny in its season finale. The Dolphins need to beat the Jets at home, but can't reach the playoffs unless they also get a Baltimore loss to Cincinnati, or a San Diego victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Miami may benefit from playing a Jets team with nothing on the line, which may prompt them to give some second and third-stringers an audition.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7, 44)

The Steelers have the longest odds of any team still alive in the playoff hunt. Pittsburgh faces a must-win scenario at home against Cleveland, but that's only the beginning, it also needs Miami, Baltimore and San Diego to all lose. That would leave all four teams in a tie at 8-8, with Pittsburgh owning the tiebreaker in that scenario based on 4-2 NFC North record and the best conference record (6-6) of the remaining teams.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-11.5, 45.5)

Indianapolis has already secured the AFC South championship, but has a first-round bye in its sights. The Colts can secure the extra week of rest with a home victory over Jacksonville and a loss by both New England and Cincinnati. Indianapolis has the benefit of facing a Jaguars team with nothing to play for, a threadbare receiving corps and an expected time split between running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Jordan Todman.

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-8, 47)

With the AFC East division already wrapped up, the Patriots find themselves in a great spot to improve their position entering the postseason. The Patriots will lock up a first-round by with a victory over the Bills; even if they lose, they'll get an extra week off if Cincinnati and Indianapolis both lose. New England also has a shot at the top seed in the conference, but will need a win combined with a Denver loss.

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (+11.5, 53.5)

Led by one of the most historically proficient offenses in NFL history, the Broncos are in position to enjoy a home-field edge throughout the AFC playoffs. If Denver earns a victory or tie in Oakland, or if New England loses to or ties Buffalo, Denver will have the top seed in the conference. Expect Peyton Manning and Co. to pile up the points against a Raiders defense that ranks among the worst in the league.

St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-11, 43)

The Seahawks find themselves in a similar situation as the Broncos. Seattle can clinch the NFC West and home-field advantage throughout the postseason with a home victory in its season finale against division rival St. Louis. The Seahawks will also earn the No. 1 seed if San Francisco drops its last game in Arizona. Seattle fell 17-10 to the Cardinals on Sunday for its first home loss in 15 games.

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (OFF)

The NFC North Division title is at stake when the Packers visit the Bears at Soldier Field. Chicago holds a half-game lead over Green Bay, and can secure the division championship with either a win or a tie versus the Packers. Green Bay will have their MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers back under center for the first time since Nov. 4 when he broke his collarbone.

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals (Pick'em, 42)

Last week's home loss by the Seahawks opened the door for San Francisco to seize the division title. But it will need to dispatch the tricky Cardinals and hope Seattle loses at home to St. Louis. San Francisco can add home-field advantage throughout the playoffs to its resume with a victory, a Seattle loss and a Carolina loss. Arizona advances with a win or tie and a New Orleans loss - a result the Cardinals will already know come game time.

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers (-9.4, 45)

The Chargers have the most interesting afternoon ahead of them, as they'll already have a good idea of their playoff future going into the game against the visiting Chiefs. San Diego can only earn an AFC wild-card berth if both Miami and Baltimore lose their early games and the Chargers go on to beat a Kansas City club that has already clinched the No. 5 seed and will be resting its starters.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (+6.5, 52.5)

The final game of the NFL's regular season will decide who emerges from the mediocre NFC East. The Eagles own a slight edge over the host Cowboys, meaning they can clinch the division championship with a win or tie. Dallas needs to win outright - and faces an uphill battle a quarterback Tony Romo deals with a back injury. Neither team is eligible for a first-round bye.

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

Sunday's Top Action
By Sportsbook.ag

BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-7) at CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-5)

Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Cincinnati -6, 44.5

The Ravens try to keep their playoff hopes alive Sunday with a visit to a Bengals team with a shot at securing a first-round bye in the postseason.

Baltimore was blown out 41-7 at home to the underdog Patriots last week, but could still play its way into the postseason with a win and some help, or even back into the playoffs with a loss plus the Steelers, Chargers and Dolphins all losing. The Bengals need a win plus a New England loss to clinch the No. 2 seed in the AFC. These teams met in Week 10 with the Ravens blowing a 17-0 halftime lead, but winning 20-17 with a field goal in overtime. This makes Baltimore 5-1 SU (3-2-1 ATS) in the past six meetings, and QB Joe Flacco 7-4 in his career versus Cincinnati. But not only are the Bengals a perfect 7-0 (SU and ATS) at home this season, but they are 18-6 ATS (75%) after leading in their previous game by 14+ points at the half under head coach Marvin Lewis. The Ravens are only 2-5 SU (3-4 ATS) on the road in 2013, but are 15-6 ATS (71%) when facing a team with a winning record in the past three seasons. Several players are listed as questionable for both teams, with the most notable players being DE Arthur Jones (concussion), RB Bernard Pierce (foot) and LB Albert McClellan (neck) for Baltimore, with Cincinnati's biggest injury concerns being LB James Harrison (concussion), LB Vontaze Burfict (head), OT Andre Smith (ankle) and TE Tyler Eifert (stinger).

Baltimore has been one of the worst offensive clubs in the NFL all season, ranking 29th in total offense (313 YPG) and 26th in scoring offense (20.2 PPG). The ground game is averaging a league-worst 3.1 YPC, and its 6.0 net yards per pass attempt ranks 26th in the NFL. RB Ray Rice (645 rush yards, 4 TD) is having his worst year as a pro with a woeful 3.1 yards per carry, which is considerably lower than the 4.5 YPC average he had in his first five seasons in the league. In the Week 10 win over Cincy, Rice managed just 30 yards on 18 carries (1.7 YPC). QB Joe Flacco is also having his worst year as a pro with a career-low 75.2 passer rating with more interceptions (19) than touchdowns (18) and a career-low 6.6 yards per pass attempt. Not only was he 20-of-36 for 140 yards (3.9 YPA), 2 TD and 2 INT in the Week 10 win over the Bengals, but he has also been horrendous in his past four trips to Paul Brown Stadium, completing 55% of his passes for 513 yards (5.2 YPA), 2 TD and 6 INT in the home of his AFC North foe. He'll continue to lean most heavily on top WR Torrey Smith (1,101 rec. yards, 4 TD), who was the only Ravens player to top 30 receiving yards in last month's win versus the Bengals with 56 yards and a 7-yard touchdown grab. Defensively, Baltimore has been fierce all season, allowing only 332 YPG (9th in NFL) and 21.2 PPG (T-9th in league) as a result of a great red zone defense (47% TD rate, 7th in NFL). The unit has really stuffed the run (3.8 YPC, 7th in league), while also doing an outstanding job getting off the field on third downs (32%, 2nd in NFL). Baltimore has just five takeaways in its past five road games combined, but has forced nine turnovers in the past five meetings with the Bengals.

Cincinnati prefers to throw the football with 257 passing YPG (10th in league) and 110 rushing YPG (21st in NFL), but has been able to mix up its play-calling in the red zone which has led to a whopping 74% TD rate (2nd in league) and 26.4 PPG (7th in NFL). QB Andy Dalton (4,015 pass yards, 7.3 YPA, 31 TD, 16 INT) is having his best season as a pro, and although he struggled against the Ravens (24-of-51, 274 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT), he has been on fire recently. In the past three games, Dalton has thrown for 871 yards (290 YPG), 7.4 YPA, 9 TD and 0 INT, lighting up the Vikings for 366 yards and four scores last week. Superstar WR A.J. Green (1,365 rec. yards, 10 TD) remains his top target, but five others have gained at least 440 yards through the air. RBs BenJarvus Green-Ellis (690 rush yards, 3.3 YPC, 7 TD) and rookie Giovani Bernard (673 rush yards, 4.3 YPC, 5 TD) haven't been spectacular, but have kept defenses honest. Speaking of defense, Cincinnati's stop unit is allowing a mere 4.8 yards per play, good for second-best in the NFL. The Bengals rank fifth in the NFL in total defense (311 YPG) and sixth in scoring defense (19.2 PPG allowed), thanks largely to a tremendous third-down defense of 33% (4th in NFL). They held the Ravens to 189 total yards on 2.8 YPC and 2.9 YPA in Week 10, and are giving up only 16.7 PPG and 299 total YPG at home this year. Cincinnati is also making a ton of big plays over the past six games with 15 takeaways, including at least three forced turnovers in four of these six contests.

NEW YORK JETS (7-8) at MIAMI DOLPHINS (8-7)

Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Miami -5.5, 41

Despite a bad loss in Week 16, the Dolphins still have a decent chance to make the playoffs if they beat the rival Jets on Sunday.

Miami needs a win plus either a Chargers win or a Ravens loss to earn that final playoff berth in the AFC. Although Dolphins starting QB Ryan Tannehill injured his knee in a pathetic 19-0 loss in Buffalo last week when his team totaled a comical 103 yards, he is on track to start Sunday's game. The Jets have been horrible on the road this year (1-6 SU, 2-4-1 ATS) where they have been outscored 31 to 14 on average. They are also 3-7 (SU and ATS) in the past 10 meetings in this series, losing 23-3 at home in Week 13. However, New York is an eye-popping 12-3 ATS (10-5 SU) in its past 15 trips to Miami, and has been a great payback wager since 1992, as the team is 17-6 ATS (74%) on the road when revenging a same-season loss against an opponent. But Miami is never easy to beat late in the year at home, as the club is 10-2 ATS (83%) since 2011 when hosting a game in the second half of the season, and Rex Ryan is 4-13 ATS (24%) versus poor passing defenses (235+ YPG allowed) in the second half of the year as the Jets' head coach. Both teams enter this game pretty healthy with Dolphins RB Daniel Thomas (ankle) and Jets CB Antonio Cromartie (hip) both upgraded to probable.

The Jets offense has been horrible this season, compiling the third-fewest points (18.0 PPG) and sixth-fewest yards (314 YPG) in the entire league. The ground game has been a strength with 134 YPG (6th in NFL) on 4.4 YPC (9th in league) led by RB Chris Ivory (814 rush yards, 4.6 YPC, 3 TD), but the club continues to struggle moving the ball through the air with 181 passing YPG (3rd-worst in NFL) on 6.0 net YPA (6th-worst in league). QB Geno Smith has completed just 55.3% of his passes for 2,856 yards (6.9 YPA), 12 TD and 21 INT. He has also been sacked 43 times, but has managed to run for 322 yards (5.2 YPC) and five touchdowns. Smith was benched in the Week 13 loss to Miami after completing just 4-of-10 passes for 29 yards with 0 TD and 1 INT, and his road numbers in his rookie season are just atrocious: 180 YPG, 6.6 YPA, 5 TD, 13 INT. His injury-riddled receiving corps hasn't helped his on-field maturation either, as WR Jeremy Kerley leads the team in targets (60), receptions (38) and receiving yards (483), despite his pedestrian numbers. The Jets defense has allowed 25.3 PPG (21st in NFL), but a lot of that is due to poor field positioning from the offense. New York ranks ninth in the league in yards per play allowed (5.1), while leading the NFL in yards per carry allowed (3.3). The Jets have also hung tough in the red zone (44% TD rate, 4th in NFL), and have been above average on third downs (36%, 13th in league). But the biggest knock on this unit is its lack of forced turnovers, having just three games with multiple takeaways, and forcing 12 total turnovers for the entire year. They will need to win the turnover battle Sunday to have a shot at knocking their rivals from the playoff picture.

Miami's offense has also struggled for most of the season, ranking 28th in the league in total yards (314 YPG) and 24th in scoring (20.7 PPG). The passing game (224 YPG, 20th in NFL) hasn't been much better than the subpar running game (90 YPG, 26th in league). But the Dolphins had little trouble moving the football up and down the field on the Jets on Dec. 1 with 453 total yards, comprised of 328 passing yards and 125 rushing yards. QB Ryan Tannehill completed 28-of-43 passes with two touchdowns in that game, with all three of his top receivers gaining at least 80 yards through the air: WR Brian Hartline (978 rec. yards, 4 TD), WR Mike Wallace (905 rec. yards, 4 TD) and TE Charles Clay (716 rec. yards, 6 TD). Top RB Lamar Miller (636 rush yards, 4.0 YPC, 2 TD) was able to gain 72 yards on 22 carries versus the Jets' stout run defense. But the offense took a huge step back last week in Buffalo when it gained a pitiful 14 yards on 12 carries (1.2 YPC) and 89 yards on 33 pass attempts (2.7 YPA). Defensively, the Dolphins have given up a good chunk of yardage (358 YPG, 20th in NFL), but have really buckled down in the red zone with a 47% TD rate (5th in league), which has led to the club allowing a mere 21.0 PPG (8th in NFL). Their run defense has been below average (123 YPG, 25th in league), which could obviously hurt against a run-heavy offense like New York, but they were able to hold the Jets to 99 rushing yards (4.5 YPC) in the Week 13 win. The Dolphins have been able to tally at least one takeaway in all 15 games this season, but have forced multiple turnovers in only five contests.

GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-7-1) at CHICAGO BEARS (8-7)

Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Green Bay -3, 53

The NFC North division will be decided on Sunday when the Bears host the Packers, who will finally get star QB Aaron Rodgers back on the field.

Rodgers will start on Sunday for the first time since suffering a broken collarbone when these teams met in Week 9, a 27-20 Chicago win. That was just the third time in 12 meetings that the Packers lost in this series when Rodgers started. Bears QB Jay Cutler did not play in that game, but will start on Sunday despite a 1-8 record, 9 TD and 17 INT versus Green Bay in his career. Despite the Packers' series dominance, they are 2-4-1 ATS on the road this year, where they allow 31.3 PPG on 394 total YPG. They are also 1-8 ATS versus poor passing defenses (7+ YPA allowed) in the past two seasons. Bettors can also fade the Bears as well, as they are 1-5-1 ATS at home this season and 1-9 ATS versus good offenses (350+ total YPG) in the past two years. In addition to Rodgers, the Packers should also have the services of top RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), and WR Randall Cobb, who is on track to play for the first time since breaking his leg in Week 6. But the defense will not be at full strength with OLB Clay Matthews (thumb) doubtful, and DT Ryan Pickett (knee), LB Nick Perry (foot) and DE Mike Neal (abdominal) all considered questionable. Chicago is in much better shape injury-wise, as S Chris Conte (head) is questionable, but LB Lance Briggs (shoulder) has been upgraded to probable.

Green Bay has been without Aaron Rodgers for nearly half the season, but the offense still ranks fourth in the NFL in total yards (395 YPG) and ninth in scoring (25.6 PPG). They have shown an excellent run/pass balance with 132 rushing YPG (7th in NFL) and 264 passing YPG (8th in league). Rodgers has thrown for 8.8 YPA with 18 sacks taken, which is a big improvement from his 7.8 YPA and 51 sacks taken in 2012. He has loved facing Chicago in his career, completing 68% of his passes for 2,757 yards (7.6 YPA), 19 TD and 8 INT. In his past two visits to Soldier Field, Rodgers has thrown for 588 yards (8.0 YPA), 6 TD and only 1 INT. He has plenty of receivers to choose from, with five players catching at least 30 passes this year. That does not include WR Randall Cobb, who has tallied 1,332 receiving yards and 11 TD in 20 games over the past two seasons. Rookie RB Eddie Lacy (1,112 rush yards, 4.2 YPC, 10 TD) ran all over the Bears for 150 yards on 22 carries (6.8 YPC) in the Week 9 defeat, and has galloped for 225 yards on 36 rushes (6.3 YPC) and 3 TD in his past two games. With Chicago's awful run defense struggling to stop anybody, the team is expecting big things from Lacy and backup RB James Starks (405 rush yards on 5.2 YPC, 4 total TD). Green Bay's defense has not really shined in any area this season, allowing 374 total YPG (26th in NFL) on 249 passing YPG (21st in league) and 125 rushing YPG (26th in NFL). The unit has a below average red-zone defense (58% TD rate, 20th in league) leading to 26.7 PPG allowed (24th in NFL). But on the bright side, the Packers' defense has been much more successful in forcing turnovers with 10 takeaways over the past four weeks. With Green Bay recording 21 defensive interceptions in the past 10 meetings in this series, Chicago QB Jay Cutler will have to more careful with his throws.

The Bears have been thriving on offense all season with 27.8 PPG (T-3rd in NFL) and 384 total YPG (8th in league). The air attack has compiled 270 YPG (5th in league) on 7.3 net yards per pass attempt, while the ground game has a pedestrian 114 rushing YPG (18th in NFL), but ranks eighth in the league with 4.5 yards per carry. QB Jay Cutler (2,395 pass yards, 7.2 YPA, 17 TD, 11 INT) has his highest passer rating (88.1) in his five seasons in Chicago, and has been especially sharp in five starts at Soldier Field where he has thrown for 1,404 yards (281 YPG), 7.8 YPA, 10 TD and 4 INT. Cutler has the NFC's best receiver duo to utilize in WRs Brandon Marshall (1,221 rec. yards, 11 TD) and Alshon Jeffery (1,341 rec. yards, 7 TD), while TE Martellus Bennett (744 rec. yards, 5 TD) and RB Matt Forte (547 rec. yards, 2 TD) have provided reliable options for shorter throws. The underrated Forte has rushed for 1,229 yards (4.6 YPC) and seven scores this season, and has usually played well versus Green Bay in his career, totaling 1,156 total yards (but only 2 TD) in 11 meetings of this rivalry. In the Week 9 win, Forte tallied 179 total yards (125 rushing, 54 receiving) and a touchdown. While the offense has been carrying this team, Chicago's defense has been dreadful, allowing 29.7 PPG (3rd-worst in NFL) and 389 total YPG (4th-worst in league), including an NFL-worst 162 rushing YPG on an NFL-worst 5.4 YPC. The unit's red-zone efficiency (59% TD rate, 22nd in NFL) and third-down defense (41%, 23rd in league) have also been subpar, and after forcing a league-high 44 turnovers last season, that number has dipped to 26 this year, with just nine takeaways in the past nine games combined.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (11-4) at ARIZONA CARDINALS (10-5)

Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Even, 42.5

After tallying their fifth straight win on Monday night versus the Falcons, the 49ers try to improve their playoff positioning against a red-hot Cardinals team still hoping to reach the postseason.

San Francisco needs a win plus a Seattle loss to win the NFC West, and those two results plus a Carolina loss would give the Niners the No. 1 seed. Arizona is coming off an impressive win in Seattle to improve to 7-1 SU (6-1-1 ATS) in its past eight games, but can make the playoffs only with a win plus a Saints’ home loss to the Bucs. The Niners beat the Cardinals 32-20 in Week 6 and are a dominant 8-1 SU (7-2 ATS) in this series since 2009. San Francisco is also 13-5 ATS (72%) versus good passing teams (235+ YPG) in the past three seasons, but Arizona is 40-17 ATS (70%) versus top-notch competition (teams with 6+ PPG margin) since 1992. Both teams are in good shape on the injury front, with the Niners slightly short-handed on offense without backup TE Vance McDonald (ankle) and WR Mario Manningham (knee), and the Cardinals possibly missing three defenders all listed as questionable: LB John Abraham (groin), DE Matt Shaughnessy (groin) and S Rashad Johnson (ankle).

The 49ers have played very well on the road this season, going 5-2 SU (6-1 ATS) where they have outscored their hosts by an average of 27.3 PPG to 15.7 PPG, and outgained them 314 YPG to 275 YPG. San Francisco loves to run the football (141 YPG, 3rd in NFL), which has been a key to its great red-zone success (58% TD rate, 5th in NFL) and has led the club to a strong 25.5 PPG overall (10th in league). RB Frank Gore (1,114 rush yards, 4.2 YPC, 9 TD) has rushed for 293 yards (4.9 YPC) over the past three games, and also piled up 101 yards on 25 carries in the 32-20 win versus the Cardinals on Oct. 13. The passing game has the second-fewest yards in the NFL (179 YPG), but it has still been efficient with 7.0 net yards per pass attempt (9th in the league). QB Colin Kaepernick has completed only 58.1% of his passes, but has thrown for 2,887 yards (7.6 YPA), 19 TD and 8 INT this season. He connected on two touchdown passes to TE Vernon Davis (805 rec. yards, 12 TD) in the Week 6 win over Arizona when Davis finished with eight catches for 180 yards. With Arizona struggling to cover tight ends all season, Davis should have a big day once again. Kaepernick also has two other quality pass catchers in WRs Anquan Boldin (1,030 rec. yards, 6 TD) and Michael Crabtree (255 rec. yards, 15.9 yards per catch, 1 TD in four games). Defensively, the Niners have stopped both the run (97 YPG, 5th in NFL) and pass (209 YPG, 4th in league) with consistency this season, which is why they are so great on third downs (35%, 6th in NFL). They are allowing only 16.8 PPG this year (3rd in league), and have forced at least one turnover in 12 straight games, compiling 25 takeaways during this stretch. But after struggling with miscues for most of the season, Arizona has taken much better care of the football lately.

The Cardinals began the season with 21 turnovers in their first nine games, but have only eight giveaways in their past six contests. QB Carson Palmer (3,867 pass yards, 7.4 YPA, 22 TD, 21 INT) had thrown only two picks over a five-game stretch heading into last week, but he tossed four interceptions in the win against the Seahawks. In the Oct. 13 loss in San Francisco, Palmer threw a pair of picks, but also completed 25-of-41 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns, one to each of his top two targets, WRs Larry Fitzgerald (841 rec. yards, 10 TD) and Michael Floyd (950 rec. yards, 5 TD). This duo is a big reason why the team has 240 passing YPG (13th in NFL), and posted a respectable 23.9 PPG (T-16th in league) without a strong running game. Arizona has rushed for a paltry 3.6 yards per carry (28th in NFL) and 97.1 YPG (23rd in league) this season, mostly due to leading ball carrier RB Rashard Mendenhall whose 640 rushing yards have come on a mere 3.1 YPC. Rookie RB Andre Ellington has been much more effective with 5.7 YPC on his 109 attempts, and the 49ers had a hard time slowing him down in Week 6 when Ellington rushed for 56 yards on 8.0 YPC and gained 36 more yards on five receptions. Arizona's defense does not have any glaring weaknesses. The unit leads the NFL in rushing defense (84 YPG) and ranks second in yards per carry allowed (3.7). While the pass defense has allowed 229 YPG through the air, it ranks third in the league with 5.8 net yards per pass attempt. The Cardinals allow just 20.1 PPG overall (7th in NFL) and 314 total YPG (6th in league), and these numbers improve to 17.0 PPG on just 292 total YPG at home. The defense has forced multiple turnovers in nine of their past 12 games, tallying 26 takeaways during this span.


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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

SNF - Eagles at Cowboys
By Sportsbook.ag

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) at Dallas Cowboys (8-7)

Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Philadelphia -7 (-105) & 53.5
Opening Line & Total: Eagles -3 & 56

The NFC East becomes a one-game playoff on Sunday night when the Eagles visit the Cowboys, with the winner hosting a postseason game, and the loser ending its season.

Philadelphia is 6-1 SU (5-2 ATS) since November with an offense averaging 34.6 PPG on 448 total YPG. Dallas will be without starting QB Tony Romo (back), which will give Kyle Orton his first start since 2011. The Cowboys are 1-6 ATS (4-3 SU) since November began, and still have the NFL’s worst defense, allowing 419 total YPG. But the much-maligned Dallas D held Philly to three points on 278 total yards in a 17-3 win in Week 7, giving the Cowboys their third straight victory in this rivalry series.

Most betting trends favor the Eagles in this one, as they are 35-15 ATS (70%) on the road revenging a loss against an opponent since 1992, and Dallas is 0-10 ATS versus great offenses (375+ YPG) in the second half of the season since 2011. But the Cowboys benefit from the fact that Philadelphia is only 5-14 ATS (26%) versus bad defenses (350+ YPG) in this same three-year timeframe.

The Eagles are pretty healthy on offense, but the secondary is ravaged with injuries with CBs Brandon Hughes (hamstring) and Curtis Marsh (hand) both out, while safeties Kurt Coleman (hamstring), Colt Anderson (knee) and Earl Wolff (knee) are all questionable.

In addition to Romo being out, Dallas will also be missing top LB Sean Lee (neck), while CB Morris Claiborne (hamstring) and LB Ernie Sims (groin) are listed as questionable. Star WR Dez Bryant has been bothered by back problems, but is considered probable for Sunday night's game.

The Eagles have been efficient both on the ground and through the air this season, which is why they rank second in the NFL in both scoring (27.9 PPG) and total offense (421 YPG). Philadelphia leads the league in total rushing yards (162 YPG), rushing yards per carry (5.2 YPC) and yards per pass attempt (8.6 YPA). RB LeSean McCoy has an NFL-best 1,476 rushing yards, but has also caught 51 passes for another 536 yards. Despite his 338 touches, McCoy has fumbled just once all season. But McCoy was held to just 3.1 yards per carry and 4.3 yards per catch in the Week 7 home loss to the Cowboys.

QB Nick Foles was also horrible that day, completing 11-of-29 throws (37.9%) for 80 yards (2.8 YPA), 0 TD and 0 INT. But the second-year pro is 7-2 as a starter, and has thrown for 2,628 yards on 9.0 YPA with 25 TD and just 2 INT this season. He has benefitted greatly from the continued excellence from star WR DeSean Jackson (1,304 rec. yards, 9 TD) and the emergence of No. 2 wideout Riley Cooper (796 rec. yards, 8 TD). TEs Brent Celek and Zach Ertz have also done a nice job getting open, especially near the goal line where they have combined for 62 catches, including nine for touchdowns.

Defensively, the Eagles have given up a ton of yardage (393 YPG, 3rd-most in league), but much of that is due to being on the field for 33:49, which is longer than any other NFL defense. They have done a nice job in stuffing the run with 3.8 YPC allowed (3rd-best in league), but are surrendering 285 passing YPG (3rd-most in league) and have a third-down defense giving up 41% conversions (24th in NFL). Philly has been able to hold 10 of its past 11 opponents to 21 points or less thanks to 23 takeaways in this 11-game span.

The Cowboys will certainly miss QB Tony Romo, who is having a great season with 3,828 passing yards (7.2 YPA), 31 TD and just 10 INT. His backup, QB Kyle Orton, made his last start in the 2011 season finale and has attempted just five passes all season. He has a 35-34 career record as an NFL starter with 6.6 YPA, 81 TD and 57 INT. In Orton's two career starts versus the Eagles (2008 and 2009), he combined to throw for only 388 passing yards (5.2 YPA), but tossed 6 TD and just 3 INT. He will try to expose a poor Philly secondary by mostly targeting WR Dez Bryant (1,134 rec. yards, 12 TD) and TE Jason Witten (716 rec. yards, 8 TD).

However, the Cowboys have not allowed RB DeMarco Murray (1,073 rush yards, 5.4 YPC, 9 TD) to touch the ball nearly enough this year, but they finally gave him more than 20 carries last week (22 carries, 96 yards, 2 TD) for the first time since Week 3. Murray was unable to play in the Week 7 meeting versus Philly due to a sprained MCL, but he has been outstanding in his past five games this year with 525 rushing yards (5.9 YPC) and six touchdowns.

He'll be a key to sustaining long drives and keeping the Cowboys atrocious defense of the field. This unit been shredded all season, both through the air (291 YPG, 2nd-worst in NFL) and on the ground (128 YPG, 6th-worst in league). Dallas has surrendered 27.2 PPG (8th-most in NFL) and has been subpar both on third downs (44%, 4th-worst in league) and in the red zone (64% TD efficiency, 5th-worst in NFL). Although the Cowboys forced three Eagles turnovers in their last meeting, this unit has generated only six takeaways over the past six weeks combined.


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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

Total Talk - Week 17
By Chris David
VegasInsider.com

Week 16 Recap

The ‘under’ produced an 11-5 record last week, which sort of helped the guys behind the betting counter. Unfortunately, the two primetime games both went ‘over’ and Monday’s outcome between the 49ers-Falcons summed up totals in the NFL this season. Atlanta led 10-3 at the break and anybody who had ‘over’ 46½ was probably ready to chalk up the loss. Even after the 49ers took a 13-10 lead heading into the final 15 minutes, things didn’t look great but that was before the 35-point explosion in the fourth quarter. On the season, the ‘over’ now holds a 126-110-5 (53%) edge.

AFC vs. NFC

Since every game is a divisional battle this week, the non-conference trend won’t be in play until the Super Bowl. I’ve personally never seen a trend perform at such a consistent rate throughout an entire season. For those keeping records, in a day of low-scoring affairs the Cincinnati-Minnesota and Pittsburgh-Green Bay matchups still went ‘over’ their numbers last Sunday. After 16 weeks, the ‘over’ finished with a 50-15 (77%) mark in non-conference games this season. Congrats to all who followed and a special thanks to VegasInsider.com handicapper Marc Lawrence for bringing it to our attention.

Line Moves

The Line Moves went 1-4 last week and those results aren’t surprising, especially with the inordinate amount of ‘under’ tickets. Overall, the moves are now barely ahead (40-35-1) after 16 weeks. Listed below are this week’s matchups that have had a total move by 1½ points or more at CRIS’s opening lines, which were sent out Sunday evening. We haven’t seen much movement and two of the games listed below moved due to the status of QBs.

San Francisco at Arizona: Line opened 43 and dropped to 41½
St. Louis at Seattle: Line opened 44½ and dropped to 41½
Green Bay at Chicago: Line opened 51 and jumped to 52½ 
Philadelphia at Dallas: Line opened 55½ and dropped to 53

Meaningless

The NFL has done a pretty good job by making Week 17 relevant and this week’s slate will only have three games that have no playoff implications whatsoever. If you’re out and about this Sunday afternoon and you’re dialed into one of the below games, you might hear somebody say, “Who the hell is watching this game?”

Houston at Tennessee
Washington at N.Y. Giants
Detroit at Minnesota

Meaningful

Since three games are meaningless on Sunday, that means 13 games will have at least one team going all out.

Carolina at Atlanta: The Panthers beat the Falcons 34-10 at home on Nov. 3, which saw the ‘under’ (46½) cash. Carolina has been a great ‘under’ bet (10-4-1) all season but Atlanta has seen the ‘over’ go 5-2 and I would be surprised to see the Falcons lay down in their finale. The loss of wide receiver Steve Smith (leg) will likely hurt Carolina's attack.

Green Bay at Chicago: Very high total for a matchup that has seen the ‘under’ go 9-1 in the last 10 meetings. The Packers offense should get a boost with QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Randall Cobb back in the lineup, especially against a shaky Bears defense. Both Green Bay (4-1) and Chicago (5-1) have closed the season with strong ‘over’ runs.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh: The 'under' is on a 4-1 run between these teams, which includes Pittsburgh's 27-11 road win over Cleveland on Nov. 24. Make a note that the Steelers have watched their last four games go 'over' the number.

Baltimore at Cincinnati: The ‘under’ has cashed in each of the last two encounters, which includes Baltimore’s 20-17 win over Cincinnati on Nov. 10.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis: The Jaguars and Colts have seen their last five meetings go ‘under’ the number, yet this week’s total is hovering around 45 points.

N.Y. Jets at Miami: The Dolphins captured a 23-3 road win over the Jets on Dec. 1. Including this outcome, the ‘under’ is on a 5-1 in this series.

Buffalo at New England: The Patriots stopped the Bills 23-21 in Week 1 on the road and the combined 44 points fell ‘under’ the closing number of 50½. Prior to this result, the ‘over’ was on a 4-0 run and New England scored 31, 49, 52, 37 points during this span.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans: Even though the Saints score in bunches at home, the ‘under’ is 4-3 in the first seven games played at the Superdome this season. This is another matchup with a high total (47½), yet bettors have watched the ‘under’ go 9-1 in the last 10 meetings between the pair.

Denver at Oakland: Tough game to handicap because Denver might call off the dogs in the second-half if they get up big. The first-half total or team total seems doable on the Broncos, especially when you know that Peyton and company have put up 37, 26 and 37 in his last three battles against Oakland.

San Francisco at Arizona: The 49ers beat the Cardinals 32-20 at home on Oct. 13 and the ‘over’ 40½ connected. The number on the rematch (41½) is in the same neighborhood and both teams will be looking to win here. The ‘over’ is on a 3-1 run in this series.

Kansas City at San Diego: The Chargers outlasted the Chiefs 41-38 in the first encounter this season and the rematch is expected to feature plenty of reserves from Kansas City, who have already clinched the fifth seed in the AFC.

St. Louis at Seattle: The oddsmakers made a mistake opening this game at 44 ½ and the number has dropped to 42 ½. The ‘under’ is on a 6-1 run in this series and St. Louis hasn’t scored more than 13 points in its last six trips to Washington.

Philadelphia at Dallas: (See Below)

Under the Lights

As mentioned above, the ‘over’ went 2-0 in the primetime games last week. Overall, the ‘over’ has gone 28-21 (57%) in contests played under the lights this week.

The Week 17 SNF finale will feature Philadelphia at Dallas from Arlington, Texas. The winner will claim the NFC East and the loser will be sent packing. Obviously this game has lost some luster with Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) ruled ‘out’ and Kyle Orton taking his place. The oddsmakers adjusted the number up on the Eagles and the total dipped as well.

In the first meeting, Dallas dominated Philadelphia 17-3 on the road in Week 7. The Cowboys defense arguably played their best game of the season and Eagles QB Nick Foles (11-of-29, 8- yards) looked horrible before he exited early with an injury. Since this matchup, Foles has been incredible and the Dallas defense has been atrocious.

So what happens in the rematch? The Eagles cashed last week on SNF for the public with the Favorite-Over combo and some will likely press that button again. Since Chip Kelly is now the coach with the Eagles, I don’t believe the past head-to-head history should be weighed heavily, even more so with Orton starting for Romo. I did do some quick research on the SNF finale in Week 17 the past five years and there are some trends to watch. The ‘under’ has cashed the last three seasons and the home team has won the previous five SNF finales.

2012 – Washington 28 vs. Dallas 18 (Under 48)
2011 – N.Y. Giants 31 vs. Dallas 14 (Under 48)
2010 – Seattle 16 vs. St. Louis 6 (Under 42½)
2009 – N.Y. Jets 37 vs. Cincinnati 0 (Over 33½)
2008 – San Diego 52 vs. Denver 21 (Over 50)

Fearless Predictions

We went 1-3 last week and dropped $220. After 15 weeks of making selections within our fictitious bankroll, we’re up $20. Tough week to bet totals but I’m confident that we’ll be in the black come the playoffs. As always, Press, Pass or Fade but in the end – Good Luck!

Best Over: Houston-Tennessee 44
Best Under: Carolina-Atlanta 46
Best Team Total: Over Houston 19

Three-Team Total Teaser (9-Point, +100):
Over 35 Houston-Tennessee
Over 42 Detroit-Minnesota
Under 51 Seattle-St. Louis

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

Sunday's NFL Week 17 Betting Cheat Sheet: Early Action
By Covers.com

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-10.5, 45)

Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley's first year in Jacksonville has to be considered a moderate success - at least the second half of it. After losing their first eight games by an average of 22.2 points, the Jaguars won four of five after their bye week. The defense has been hit with key injuries late in the season, which has contributed to the Jaguars allowing 380 rushing yards over their past two games - both losses.

Indianapolis has been fairly balanced on offense, but the ground game is a bellwether for its success - the Colts are 9-1 when rushing for over 100 yards, including their past two games. Colts QB Andrew Luck (7,914) needs seven passing yards to surpass Cam Newton for the most by an NFL player in his first two seasons. The Colts have forced 10 turnovers in their last three wins and have been especially tough against the pass in recent weeks.

ODDS: Indianapolis is listed as a 10.5-point fave, down a point from an 11.5-point open. Over/under is down a half-point to 45.
WEATHER: N/A
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Jacksonville (+5.5) + Indianapolis (-2.0) + home field (-3.0) = Colts -10.5

TRENDS:

* Jaguars are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games vs. the AFC.
* Colts are 6-0 ATS in their last six games vs. divisional opponents.
* Under is 5-0 in the last five meetings.


New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-5.5, 41.5)

Much-maligned Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith took his lumps in the first meeting with the Dolphins before getting benched at halftime. Running back Chris Ivory can help avoid a repeat performance for Smith by making some hay in the ground game against Miami's 25th-ranked rush defense. Ivory ran for 109 yards last week against Cleveland, but mustered just 61 in the first meeting versus Miami.

Miami QB Ryan Tannehill, who sits 291 yards away from 4,000, threw for a season-high 331 yards and two touchdowns earlier this month versus New York. Brian Hartline reeled in nine receptions for a campaign-best 127 yards and a touchdown against the Jets, but dropped three passes last week. Hartline is 22 yards shy of amassing back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

ODDS: Miami is a 5.5-point fave after opening at -6.5. The over/under is up a half-point to 41.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-80s with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms and wind blowing across the length of the field at 13 mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: New York (+3.8) + Miami (0.0) + home field (-3.0) = Dolphins -6.8

TRENDS:

* Jets are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 December games.
* Dolphins are 5-1 ATS in their last six games.
* Road team is 10-3-1 ATS in the last 14 meetings.


Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-3, 51.5)

Stud wide receiver Calvin Johnson was limited to part-time duty last week due to knee and ankle injuries, but needs eight yards to become the first receiver in league history to reach 1,500 yards in three consecutive seasons. QB Matt Stafford is 67 yards shy of reaching 4.500 for the third straight season. He has thrown multiple interceptions in four of the past five games - 11 overall - during a late-season swoon.

Vikings QB Matt Cassel, who will make his sixth start of the season, amassed 382 yards in a 48-30 upset of Philadelphia on Dec. 15 before throwing three picks in last week's 42-14 drubbing in Cincinnati. Minnesota has also been hindered by injuries star running back Adrian Peterson, who is third in the league in rushing with 1,266 yards but has played in two of the last three and managed only a combined 58 yards on 18 carries.

ODDS: Minnesota is a 3-point fave, with the over/under down a half-point to 51.5.
WEATHER: N/A
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Detroit (+1.0) + Minnesota (+4.5) - home field (-3.0) = Lions -0.5

TRENDS:

* Lions are 1-7 ATS in their last eight December games.
* Vikings are 5-1 ATS in their last six games vs. the NFC.
* Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.


Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (-7.5, 43.5)

Receiver Andre Johnson has tied the NFL record of five 100-catch seasons (shared by Wes Welker) and is one of the few bright spots in a dismal season. Johnson ranks second in the NFL with 103 receptions and fifth with 1,358 receiving yards. Texans DE J.J. Watt has 9.5 sacks, less than half of his 2012 total (20.5) when he was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Running back Chris Johnson has experienced a lukewarm campaign but is just 50 yards away from posting his sixth consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season. Johnson had a 96-yard outing against Houston in September but that output is his second-highest of the campaign and he has rushed for 46 yards or fewer seven times. Tennessee has dropped five home games in a row.

ODDS: Tennessee opened at -6.5, but the line has been bet up one point. The total is down a half-point to 43.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-50s with mostly cloudy skies and wind blowing across the width of the field at 9 mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Houston (+7.5) - Tennessee (+2.0) + home field (-3.0) = Titans -8.5

TRENDS:

* Texans are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games following a SU loss of more than 14 points.
* Titans are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games vs. teams with losing records.
* Over is 6-1 in the last seven meetings in Tennessee.


Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7, 44)

Josh Gordon, whose 1,564 receiving yards are the most in a single season in team history, needs one touchdown catch to join Gary Collins, Braylon Edwards and Paul Warfield as the only Browns to reach double digits in a season. Gordon is 10 receptions away from breaking Ozzie Newsome's single-season record of 89, which the Hall of Fame tight end recorded three times. Cleveland has lost each of its last nine visits to Pittsburgh.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has dominated the Browns over his career, winning 16-of-17 starts - including all eight at home. The veteran has posted a quarterback rating of 100 with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions against Cleveland. Roethlisberger, who thrown 14 TD passes and only two picks over his last six overall games, is 247 yards away from breaking his own franchise record of 4,328 set in 2009.

ODDS: Pittsburgh is a 7-point fave, with the total up a half-point to 44.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-40s with showers in the forecast.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Cleveland (+6.0) + Pittsburgh (-1.0) + home field (-3.0) = Steelers -10

TRENDS:

* Browns are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 road games vs. teams with losing home records.
* Steelers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games.
* Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.


Washington Redskins at New York Giants (-3.5, 46)

The Redskins will be attempting to snap a seven-game slide when they visit the Giants in the season finale on Sunday.Redskins linebacker London Fletcher could be playing the final game of his career while extending his NFL record for linebackers to 256 straight games played. Running back Alfred Morris has gone over 100 yards in each of his first three career games against New York.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning is suffering through the worst regular season of his career with 17 touchdowns, 26 interceptions and seven fumbles. He overcame a five-INT disaster in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15 to throw for 256 yards and one pick in an overtime victory last week. Wide receiver Victor Cruz is expected to miss the game with a knee injury.

ODDS: The Giants have held as a 3.5-point fave, with the total climbing a half-point to 46.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-40s with rain expected and winds blowing across the width of the field at 11 mph later in the game.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Washington (+7.0) - New York (+3.3) + home field (-3.0) = Giants -6.7

TRENDS:

* Redskins are 7-2 ATS in their last nine December games.
* Giants are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games vs. the NFC.
* Under is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings in New York.


Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5, 44.5)

The Ravens, who fell 41-7 to New England last week, have won their last nine games following double-digits setbacks. Quarterback Joe Flacco, who has zero touchdowns and two interceptions in his last two games, has struggled at Cincinnati, where he has four scores and six picks through the air in his last four full games at Paul Brown Stadium. Baltimore had three turnovers and totaled 189 yards in the overtime win against Cincinnati earlier this season.

Cincinnati, which locked up that division crown while crushing Minnesota, 42-14, still has something to play for, as it can attain a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win and a loss by the Patriots, who are hosting Buffalo. Bengals QB Andy Dalton (4,015 yards) needs 117 yards to surpass Carson Palmer's franchise mark for a season, set in 2007.

ODDS: The Bengals are 6.5-point faves after opening at -5. The total is holding at 44.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-40s with mostly cloudy skies and wind blowing across the width of the field at 9 mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Baltimore (+0.5) + Cincinnati (-4.0) + home field (-3.0) = Bengals -7.5

TRENDS:

* Ravens are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven road games vs. teams with winning home records.
* Bengals are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 home games.
* Baltimore is 2-6 ATS in its last eight visits to Cincinnati.


Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (+5.5, 45.5)

Carolina has won 10 of its last 11 games primarily on the strength of a strong run game and a dominant defense. The defense was as tough as ever against the Saints, sacking Drew Brees six times and forcing two turnovers as star linebacker Luke Kuechly racked up 24 tackles. With Newton nursing an ankle injury that might limit his role in the running game, running back DeAngelo Williams (810 yards, 3 TDs) is likely to carry the bulk of the load.

Atlanta doesn't have any postseason motivation, but the Falcons would like to send off tight end Tony Gonzalez on a high note as he wraps up what he says will be his final season. Gonzalez has caught a pass in 210 consecutive games - the second-longest streak in NFL history - and already has gone over 800 receiving yards for the 13th time in his career.

ODDS: Atlanta is a 5.5-point dog, down from an open of +7. The total is up a half-point to 45.5.
WEATHER: N/A
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Carolina (-4.5) + Atlanta (+5.0) - home field (-3.0) = Panthers -6.5

TRENDS:

* Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven divisional games.
* Falcons are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games.
* Favorite is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings.

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

Sunday's NFL Week 17 Betting Cheat Sheet: Late Action
By Covers.com

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (+3, 53)

In addition to the return of franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay could regain the services of Randall Cobb. The wide receiver has been on the shelf since suffering a broken leg against Baltimore in Week 6 but nearly made his return last week. Eddie Lacy's status also is uncertain after the rookie running back, who has scored four touchdowns while averaging 96.7 yards over his last three games, injured his ankle against Pittsburgh.

Jay Cutler has not fared well against the Packers in his career, posting a 1-8 record that includes a loss in the NFC championship game three seasons ago. The quarterback did not play in the first meeting this season due to a groin injury. Chicago must find a way to stop Green Bay's rushing attack, as the Bears rank last in the league with an average of 161.5 yards allowed on the ground.

ODDS: Chicago is a 3-point dog, with the total set at 53.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-20s with a 56 percent chance of snow and wind gusting out of the northwest at 20 mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Green Bay (+4.0) + Chicago (-1.3) + home field (-3.0) = Bears -8.3

TRENDS:

* Packers are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games vs. divisional opponents.
* Bears are 7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 games.
* Under is 13-3 in the last 16 meetings.


Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-7.5, 47)

Buffalo dominated on the ground with 203 yards in last week’s 19-0 win over Miami and is second in the NFL in rushing offense (142.5) - an area it can exploit against the Patriots, who are 29th against the run (131.7). The Bills can lean on that rushing attack with quarterback EJ Manuel (knee) sitting out the season finale in favor of Thad Lewis. Buffalo’s defense leads the NFL with 56 sacks.

New England is trying to wrap up an undefeated home slate and ensure a game or two in its own building during the playoffs after posting a strong effort on both sides of the ball in last week's 41-7 throttling of Baltimore. The Patriots made several plays in pass coverage against the Ravens and won the turnover battle 4-0. New England has taken four straight and 19 of the past 20 meetings.

ODDS: New England opened at -8.5 but has been bet down one point. The total is holding at 47.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-30s with rain expected throughout the afternoon.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Buffalo (+3.5) - New England (-5.0) + home field (-3.0) = Patriots -11.5

TRENDS:

* Bills are 5-14-1 ATS in their last 20 games following a SU win.
* Patriots are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games.
* Favorite is 20-8-1 ATS in the last 29 meetings.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-11, 47.5)

Tampa Bay won three in a row after opening the season with eight consecutive defeats, but the offense has slowed markedly over the past four games, averaging 11 points in the three defeats. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has struggled to move the offense in the the four-game stretch, throwing for four touchdowns and four interceptions, failing to surpass 180 yards and absorbing 17 sacks.

A typically potent potent offense has hit a few bumps in the road, averaging 12 points in its three defeats in December - all away from home. Drew Brees has thrown two scoring passes and four interceptions in back-to-back losses at St. Louis and Carolina, but he has been spectacular under the dome in New Orleans with 24 touchdowns - including four games with at least four scoring passes - against only three picks.

ODDS: The Saints are 11-point faves, down from an opening line of -13. The total is up a half-point to 47.5.
WEATHER: N/A
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Tampa Bay (+4.3) + New Orleans (-4.3) + home field (-3.0) = Saints -11.6

TRENDS:

* Buccaneers are 18-6 ATS in their last 24 road games vs. teams with winning home records.
* Saints are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 Week 17 games.
* Under is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings.


Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (+11, 53.5)

Denver can lose the top seed with a loss and a win by New England so there will be no lack of motivation despite the 37-21 romp against the Raiders in Week 3 - a game in which Peyton Manning threw for 374 yards and three touchdowns. Manning, who guides an offense that averages a league-best 38.1 points, has a ton of weapons at his disposal; the Broncos are the only team in history to have five players score at least 10 touchdowns.

Terrelle Pryor, who lost his job as a result of a knee injury and lack of production, has struggled in the passing game (five TDs, 11 INTs) but is a dangerous threat with his legs, rushing for 527 yards and averaging 7.1 yards a pop. Backup Rashad Jennings has been a capable fill-in for oft-injury Darren McFadden, who is finally healthy, so expect Oakland to try and utilize the ground game to both keep the ball away from Manning.

ODDS: The Raiders are 11-point dogs, down from a +13 opening line. The total is holding at 53.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-50s with sunny skies.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Broncos (-7.0) + Raiders (+6.5) - home field (-3.0) = Broncos -10.5

TRENDS:

* Broncos are 7-1 ATS in their last eight December games.
* Raiders are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games following a SU loss.
* Over is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.


San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals (PICK, 42)

San Francisco is allowing an average of 14.8 points during its five-game winning streak but needed a late defensive touchdown in order to seal a 34-24 victory over Atlanta on Monday because of some holes in pass coverage. NaVorro Bowman’s 98-yard interception return for a TD masked some of those deficiencies and kept the team riding a high after the game.

Arizona has won its last three games and is looking for its first 11-win season since moving from St. Louis in 1988. Arizona could become just the second team (New England, 2008) to miss the playoffs with 11 wins under the current alignment. Carson Palmer needs 133 yards to become the first quarterback in history to reach 4,000 yards with three different teams.

ODDS: The game is a pick 'em after opening at 49ers -1.5. The total is set at 42.
WEATHER: N/A
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: San Francisco (-6.0) + Arizona (-3.5) + home field (-3.0) = Cardinals -0.5

TRENDS:

* 49ers are 26-10-1 ATS in their last 37 games on grass.
* Cardinals are 6-0 ATS in their last six games.
* San Francisco is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 meetings.


Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers (-10, 44.5)

Kansas City hasn't beaten a team that currently has a winning record since knocking off Philadelphia in Week 3 and has lost three of its last five despite running back Jamaal Charles' outstanding play. Charles, who will be limited Sunday, has an AFC-best 1,287 rushing yards and is trying to lead the conference in rushing for the second straight season. He's also one of the Chiefs' top receivers with 70 catches for 693 yards.

San Diego has found balance on offense in recent weeks and had enough success against the Raiders to overcome three turnovers. Running back Ryan Mathews has come on at the end of the season, compiling at least 99 rushing yards and a touchdown in three straight games, but was held out of practice Thursday because of an ankle injury.

ODDS: San Diego is a 10-point fave, up a half-point from the opening line. The total is down a half-point to 44.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-70s with sunny skies.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Kansas City (-2.3) + San Diego (-1.5) + home field (-3.0) = Chargers -2.2

TRENDS:

* Chiefs are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games.
* Chargers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games.
* Kansas City is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games in San Diego.


St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-11.5, 43)

Standout defensive lineman Robert Quinn had three sacks in last Sunday’s victory over Tampa Bay and has a franchise-record 18 on the season, bettering the mark of 17 set by Kevin Carter in 1999. He is slightly ahead of Indianapolis Colts standout Robert Mathis (17.5) in the battle for the NFL’s sack crown and has also forced seven fumbles – one behind Mathis for the league lead.

The play of second-year quarterback Russell Wilson is a prime reason why the offense has sputtered over the past three weeks. Wilson was just 11-of-27 for a career-low 108 yards against the Cardinals and has the same number of interceptions as touchdowns (three each) during a stretch in which Seattle is averaging just 16.7 points. Seattle has won 15 of the last 17 meetings, including a win in St. Louis on Oct. 28.

ODDS: Seattle is installed as a 11.5-point fave, up from an opening of -10. The total is holding at 43.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-40s with overcast skies and fog a possibility.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: St. Louis (+1.5) + Seattle (-7.3) + home field (-3.0) = Seahawks -11.8

TRENDS:

* Rams are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games vs. teams with winning records.
* Seahawks are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following a SU loss.
* Under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings.


Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (+7, 52.5)

Philadelphia owns the rare distinction of having the NFL's leader in passer rating (Nick Foles, 118.8) and the league's top rusher (LeSean McCoy, 1,476), not to mention electric receiver DeSean Jackson and his career-high 79 catches for 1,304 yards. McCoy needs 37 yards to break the franchise's single-season rushing record, even though he has received more than 20 carries only four times all season.

With Tony Romo on the mend, Kyle Orton takes over under center. Orton has not started a game since the final day of the 2011 season - with Kansas City - and the 31-year-old has thrown only five passes this season and just 15 total passes the last two years. Without Romo (back), the Cowboys' offense will likely rely on running back DeMarco Murray, who has rushed for 439 yards and five touchdowns over his past four games.

ODDS: Dallas opened +1.5 but the line has since been bet down a whopping 5.5 points. The total is down three points to 52.5.
WEATHER: N/A
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Philadelphia (-3.0) + Dallas (-0.5) + home field (-3.0) = Cowboys -0.5

TRENDS:

* Eagles are 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games vs. teams with winning records.
* Cowboys are 8-22 ATS in their last 30 December games.
* Underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

Essential Betting Tidbits for Week 17 of NFL Football
By Covers.com

We dug up these vital betting tidbits for some of Sunday's NFL action that will help you make the right call before kickoff.

- Indianapolis is 6-0 ATS in its last six games versus divisional opponents, while the Jaguars are 3-0-1 ATS against the AFC South.

- Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has completed just 57 percent of his passes with four TDs and three interceptions in three career games against Jacksonville.

- The New York Jets have dominated Miami ATS in recent years, going 12-3 in their last 15 meetings.

- The over is 18-6-2 in New York's previous 26 road games against teams with winning home records. The Dolphins are 4-3 in Miami.

- Detroit has been a final-month bust in recent years, going 1-7 ATS in its last eight December contests.

- Minnesota will likely be without running back Adrian Peterson for the season finale. With Toby Gerhart also on the sidelines, Matt Asiata will get the start. Asiata had 30 carries for 51 yards and three scores in Week 15 against Philadelphia.

- Houston has played to the Under in nine of its last 11 road games versus teams with losing home records. The Titans are 2-5 in Tennessee.

- Running back Chris Johnson is likely playing in his final game in a Titans uniform. Johnson averages 89.9 yards with three total touchdowns in 11 career games against the Texans.

- Cleveland has been one of the lower-scoring teams when it comes to season finales, playing to the Under in eight of its last 11 Week 17 encounters.

- The Under is 13-5 in Pittsburgh's last 18 home games, and 10-4 in the Steelers' previous 14 divisional games.

- Washington has been dreadful when it comes to beating the spread against weaker competition, going 14-30-3 ATS in its last 47 games against teams with losing records.

- Redskins WR Pierre Garcon has racked up 17 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown in his last two games against the Giants.

- The Bengals are one of only three NFL teams to go into the final week with an unbeaten home record - New Orleans and New England are the others - and are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 home games.

- Baltimore is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight games in Cincinnati.

- The Panthers have traditionally been a solid bet in the closing weeks of the NFL season, going 39-19-2 ATS in their last 60 December games.

- The home team is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings between Atlanta and Carolina - and so is the favorite.

- Green Bay will have quarterback Aaron Rodgers back from a collarbone injury for Sunday's pivotal Week 17 encounter with Chicago, in which the winner claims the NFC North title. Rodgers has thrown for 2,513 yards with 19 TDs and six interceptions in 11 career games versus the Bears.

- Chicago (-28) is the only current division leader with a negative point differential; the Packers (-16) would need to win by 16 or more points Sunday to avoid a similar fate.

- Buffalo has had trouble stringing together consecutive solid games, going 5-14-1 ATS in its last 20 games following an ATS win and 7-21-1 ATS in its last 29 outings following a SU victory.

- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has 53 touchdown passes in 23 career games versus the Bills - easily the highest total against any opponent.

- Tampa Bay has held tough on the road against tough opponents, going 18-6 ATS in its last 24 road games versus teams with winning home marks.

- The Under is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings, and 4-0 in the last four encounters at New Orleans.

- The Broncos and Raiders share a strange ATS trend, with the road team going 8-2-1 in the last 11 meetings.

- The Over is 10-2-1 in Denver's previous 13 games following a SU win of more than 14 points. The Broncos shelled Houston 37-13 in Week 16.

- Both the 49ers and Cardinals have been strong plays, with San Francisco 6-0 ATS in its last six road games and Arizona going 6-0 ATS in its previous six contests overall.

- Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer has fared reasonably well against the 49ers in his career, passing for 550 yards with three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions in two meetings.

- Kansas City is 6-1 ATS in its last seven road games but is expected to play its second and third-stringers for most of its season finale at San Diego. The Chiefs are already locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC.

- The Under is 9-1 in the Chargers' last 10 games versus conference opponents.

- St. Louis won't make things easy in its final game of the season in Seattle, having gone 11-4 ATS in its last 15 games versus teams with winning records.

- The Under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings - and with both teams boasting impressive defenses, that trend could continue.

- Dallas and Philadelphia, which meet Sunday night for the NFC East title, have been two of the league's top teams when it comes to turnover differential. The Cowboys are tied for third at plus-11 on the season, with the Eagles right behind at plus-10.

- The road team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings. Philadelphia enters as a seven-point road fave.

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, December 29

Week 17 NFL Tips
By Kevin Rogers
VegasInsider.com

Ravens at Bengals (-6½, 44)

Baltimore: 8-7 SU, 7-8 ATS
Cincinnati: 10-5 SU, 9-5-1 ATS

Last week's results: The Bengals picked up their seventh home victory of the season in a 42-14 blowout of the Vikings as 7½-point favorites. Cincinnati has scored at least 40 points in each of its last four games at Paul Brown Stadium. The Ravens saw their four-game winning streak snapped in a 41-7 home defeat to the Patriots, putting themselves in a must-win situation on Sunday to get into the playoffs.

Previous meeting result: Cincinnati forced overtime with a Hail Mary touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green in the final seconds back in Week 10. However, the Ravens came out on top with a Justin Tucker field goal in overtime, as Baltimore edged Cincinnati, 23-20 to cash as one-point favorites.

Betting notes: The Ravens have won just two road games this season, with both of those victories coming by three points or less at Miami and Detroit. Cincinnati has easily cashed the 'over' in each of its last four home contests, while winning four of its past five against division foes at Paul Brown Stadium.

Jets at Dolphins (-5½, 41½)

New York: 7-8 SU, 8-6-1 ATS
Miami: 8-7 SU, 9-6 ATS

Last week's results: The Dolphins put up a clunker in a 16-0 defeat at Buffalo last Sunday, ending a three-game winning streak. Miami gained just 103 yards of offense, while getting swept by the last-place Bills this season. The Jets pulled off a 24-13 home triumph over the Browns, improving to 3-0 SU/ATS as a favorite at Met Life Stadium.

Previous meeting result: Miami blew out New York earlier this month, 23-3, as Ryan Tannehill tossed two touchdown passes and threw for 331 yards. The Dolphins have won three of the last four meetings with the Jets, while five of the past six matchups have finished 'under' the total.

Betting notes: The Jets have failed to win consecutive games this season, posting an 0-6 SU and 1-4-1 ATS record off a victory. The Dolphins have cashed the 'under' in five of the previous six contests, including three straight 'unders' at Sun Life Stadium.

49ers (-1, 42) at Cardinals

San Francisco: 11-4 SU, 10-5 ATS
Arizona: 10-5 SU, 11-4 ATS

Last week's results: The 49ers won their fifth consecutive contest, knocking off the Falcons, 34-24, but failed to cash as 14-point favorites in the final regular season game at Candlestick Park. The Cardinals are still hanging around in the NFC playoff race, winning their 10th game of the season in a 17-10 upset of the Seahawks as eight-point underdogs, snapping Seattle's 14-game home winning streak.

Previous meeting result: San Francisco held off Arizona, 32-20 in Week 6 at Candlestick Park, as the 49ers barely cashed as 10-point 'chalk.' The Niners led by two points with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, but a touchdown and a field goal lifted Jim Harbaugh's team to the division victory and cover.

Betting notes: Since getting blown out at Seattle in Week 2, the 49ers have compiled a 6-0 ATS and 5-1 SU record away from Candlestick Park. The Niners have allowed 24 points or less in 12 straight games, while going 6-1 ATS as a favorite of 5 ½ points or less. The Cardinals have covered six consecutive games, while winning six of seven contests at University of Phoenix Stadium. Arizona has struggled against division foes since beating Seattle to start the 2012 season, owning a 2-8 SU record within the NFC West.

Packers (-3, 52) at Bears

Green Bay: 7-7-1 SU, 6-9 ATS
Chicago: 8-7 SU, 4-10-1 ATS

Last week's results: The Packers lost a shootout to the Steelers, 38-31, snapping a modest two-game winning streak. Green Bay will get Aaron Rodgers back under center after missing the last seven games with a collarbone injury (2-4-1 SU and 1-6 ATS). The Bears were humbled in a 54-11 whipping at Philadelphia last Sunday night, as Chicago has allowed 85 points in the last two weeks. Chicago's normally reliable defense gave up at least 40 points in four road losses this season, while going 6-2 to the 'over' on the highway.

Previous meeting result: The start of Green Bay's tail-spin began in Week 9 when Rodgers was knocked out in the opening quarter of a 27-20 home defeat to Chicago. The Bears cashed outright as 10-point underdogs, even though Eddie Lacy ripped up the Chicago defense for 150 yards rushing and a touchdown. Despite the loss, Green Bay has won six of the last seven matchups against Chicago.

Betting notes: With Rodgers under center, the Packers put together a 5-2 SU/ATS record, although both losses came away from Lambeau Field. Chicago is 5-2 to the 'over' at home this season, while going 1-3 ATS at Soldier Field off a defeat.

Chiefs at Chargers (-9, 45)

Kansas City: 11-4 SU, 8-7 ATS
San Diego: 8-7 SU, 9-5-1 ATS

Last week's results: The Chiefs suffered another loss to an above .500 squad, falling at home to the Colts, 23-7 as 7½-point favorites. Kansas City scored an early touchdown, but was held to single-digits for the first time this season, while losing three straight games at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers are making a late push to the postseason, capturing their third consecutive victory with a 26-13 triumph over the Raiders as a 10-point favorite. San Diego needs a win on Sunday plus losses by Miami and Baltimore to clinch the sixth-seed in the AFC playoffs.

Previous meeting result: San Diego came out on top in one of the most entertaining games of the season, a 41-38 victory at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 12. The Lightning Bolts cashed as 3 ½-point underdogs, the fifth win in the last six matchups with the Chiefs since 2010.

Betting notes: Kansas City will likely sit many starters since the Chiefs are already in the playoffs, but the Chiefs have won six of seven games on the highway this season (6-1 ATS). Since losing their first two divisional contests, the Chargers have won three straight games within the AFC West, while going 7-4 SU/ATS against division rivals since the start of 2012.

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