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NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, August 17

NFL Betting News and Notes Sunday, August 17

NFL Preseason Point Spreads and Picks
By: Mike Wilkening
Sportingnews.com

The second full week of the NFL preseason is a mediocre buffet. You will fill up, but you won't feel great about it.

This week is the only on the NFL calendar in which the league holds games on five consecutive days. And has it ever been a long meal.

Day one featured just one contest -- Jaguars-Bears in Chicago on Thursday night. This was the drink order. On day two, you had the all-clear from the server to start filling your plate. You started light, with four preseason games Friday night.

On day three -- that second trip to the steam tables -- you loaded up. There were eight exhibitions, including seven on Saturday evening. You came back to the table with a disgustingly overloaded plate. C'mon -- you were never going to eat four cheese blintzes.

Now, we've come to day four. There are just two games on Sunday -- Broncos-49ers in the early afternoon and Chiefs-Panthers in the evening. You are just about stuffed … but hey, aren't the 49ers playing their first game in Levi's Stadium? So you push yourself away from the table, not to walk away, but to check out that big pile of peanut butter cookies off in the corner. It's time for another round -- but this time, it's a small one.

Here's a closer look at Sunday's exhibitions:

Denver at San Francisco (-3.5, 40)

With these clubs meeting again in the regular season, don't look for anything too exotic on Sunday afternoon in Santa Clara.

The 49ers' offense sputtered when Colin Kaepernick departed after one series in the preseason opener, with Blaine Gabbert especially struggling in relief at Baltimore, a game the Niners lost 23-3. Kaepernick won't play much in this game, so it's on Gabbert and the Niners' other reserve passers to solve a Denver defense that gave up 190 second-half yards to Seattle last week.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was 10-of-13 for 78 yards in his 2014 exhibition debut. He has averaged 19.5 passes in two second preseason games with Denver. However, the Broncos have been held to just 10 points in each of those contests.

Despite the setback in the first preseason game, the 49ers have generally been a good preseason play in Jim Harbaugh's time as head coach, posting an 8-5 point spread mark since 2011. Denver is 6-7 vs. the spread in exhibition play in John Fox's tenure.

Kansas City at Carolina (-3.5, 39)

Both clubs were surprise playoff entrants in 2013, but there's room on both bandwagons after each suffered key personnel losses in the offseason.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is expected to make his exhibition debut Sunday night after sitting out the preseason opener vs. Buffalo as he returns from ankle surgery. Without Newton, the Panthers' offense played respectably enough against the Bills, converting 10-of-17 third downs and scoring three touchdowns. Now, the focus turns to how Newton fares with a revamped receiving corps in live game action.

While the Chiefs put up 41 points in their exhibition opener vs. Cincinnati, three of their five touchdowns were on returns. Also, the Chiefs surrendered six sacks. The club lost several key offensive linemen in free agency, including left tackle Branden Albert.

The Panthers are 4-1 straight-up and against the number as preseason favorites under coach Ron Rivera. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have had their last three exhibitions go OVER.

The Linemakers' lean: If this were a regular season matchup the total would be about 41, so 39 feels too high in this spot. The Chiefs put up 41 points in their preseason opener, but that score could be misleading because their offense was not as effective as such a high number would suggest. Also, Kansas City is expected to play their first string defense for the entire first half, making our play UNDER in the first half and UNDER for the game.

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Kansas City Chiefs at Carolina Panthers
Sportspic.com

The Kansas City Chiefs came out on top of a 41-39 shootout with the Cincinnati Bengals in their first preseason game. While on the surface that score might lead some to believe the Chiefs’ offense was dominant, the reality is that 27 of the team’s 41 points came from the defense and special teams. The Chiefs had a kick return touchdown, two interception return touchdowns, and two field goals in the win over Cincinnati in addition to two offensive scores. Kansas City will look to build on that performance in its second preseason game this Sunday against a Carolina Panthers’ team that suffered a close 20-18 loss to the Buffalo Bills in its exhibition opener.

Players We’re Watching

De’Anthony Thomas – Kansas City Chiefs


The fourth-round pick out of Oregon showed off his speed in his first NFL preseason game with an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown. Thomas caught the punt, made a wicked spin move, then hit the lane with a ridiculous burst of speed and took it the distance. An absolute burner that the Chiefs envision being a contributor as a receiver, running back, and return man, Thomas is a threat to make a big play every time he touches the ball. Special teams coach Dave Toub is an excellent motivator that knows how to get the most out of his players and the rookie return man is an outstanding weapon. Keep an eye out for Thomas on special teams and on offense where he had just one carry for three yards in the preseason opener.

Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers

The Panthers’ receiving core was completely revamped in the offseason after the team said goodbye to Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, and Ted Ginn. The team added veterans Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery but the biggest move came in the draft when they selected Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin with their first-round pick. At 6’5, 241 pounds, Benjamin is an absolute monster target that can outmuscle defenders and win jump balls. He also has excellent speed and elite body control, which he showed last week when he made his first NFL catch. Benjamin sprinted down the left side of the field and seemed to have a step on his man but was forced to adjust to an under thrown ball so he dove to make a spectacular touchdown catch. Benjamin is being relied on as the Panthers’ No. 1 receiver in year one and it already looks as though he is very capable.

Preseason Coaching Trend

Andy Reid hasn’t finished with a preseason record below .500 since 2009 and that likely won’t change this year with a deep roster and plenty of battles going on at the skill positions. Ron Rivera went 3-1 in the preseason a year ago but there isn’t the same urgency there was coming off a down year in 2013 and Cam Newton isn’t available.

Prediction

The Chiefs got scoring contributions from the offense, defense, and special teams in their preseason opener and while the final result didn’t count, this team looked organized and ready to compete in all three facets of the game. Carolina isn’t as good as its record was a year ago and it will take some time to get in to form with so many new faces. Look for this to be a lower scoring game with Kansas City securing its second preseason win.

Pick: Kansas City Chiefs +3

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Sunday's Preseason Tips
By Kevin Rogers
VegasInsider.com

Week 2 Recap: The home teams put up a 5-0 straight-up and 3-2 against the spread record on Thursday and Friday. The road clubs bounced back nicely on Saturday night by compiling a 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS record, as the Vikings and Steelers each won by a combined five points at home with late scores. The ‘over’ went 4-4 last night after the ‘over’ finished a perfect 4-0 on Friday night.

Broncos at 49ers (-4½, 41½)

2014 Preseason Records: DEN (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS), SF (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)

Previous preseason meeting: Broncos beat 49ers, 10-6 as three-point road underdogs in 2013.

Preseason review: Denver picked up a tiny bit of revenge from this past February’s Super Bowl beatdown by Seattle, as the Broncos rallied past the Seahawks, 21-16 as one-point home ‘dogs. The 49ers traveled east and didn’t put up much of a fight in a 23-3 defeat to the Ravens. San Francisco was outgained by nearly 200 yards, while Baltimore held the ball for almost 40 minutes.

Expert Analysis: Doc’s Sports - Denver has been getting blown out in Week 2 of the exhibition season and we fully expect that trend to continue on Sunday. The Broncos lost last year by 30 points and by 20 points in 2012 (both losses to Seattle). San Francisco is opening up a new stadium and that will give them the little extra effort needed to win this game by 7 to 10 points. This will be another regular season rematch and thus I do not expect the Broncos to move it up-tempo and John Fox is just 4-8 in Week 2 in the preseason.

Chiefs at Panthers (-3½, 40)

2014 Preseason Records: KC (1-0 SU, 0-0-1 ATS), CAR (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)

Previous preseason meeting: Chiefs beat Panthers, 30-10 as 3 ½-point home favorites in 1997.

Preseason review: Kansas City outlasted Cincinnati, 41-39, but pushed as two-point favorites. The Chiefs benefited from a pair of interception returns for touchdowns to win their third straight exhibition contest dating back to last August. Cam Newton sat out Carolina’s preseason opening loss to Buffalo, 20-18 as short home underdogs. The Panthers scored on a pair of long touchdown passes, but a late two-point conversion failed to tie the game.

Expert Analysis: Tony Stoffo - With Newton nursing offseason ankle surgery and an unsettled offensive line, the Panthers could only manage six points and 70+ yards in the first half against the Bills in Week 1. While even though the Chiefs put up 41 points on the Bengals in the first half, they could only manage three offensive field goal drives as the rest of their points were on 80-yard punt return and a 36-yard Sean Smith pick-six for a score. So I feel we have a ton of value in this total as the public and the odds makers have over-reacted to what the Chiefs did and posted an extremely high total here.

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