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  1. #1


    Friday’s Den: Wrapping up the first 20 picks of the NFL Draft

    — First job tonight was to decide which channel to watch the draft on; NFL Network had a concert on, ESPN had four or five commercials for the NBA. No bueno; back to the Extra Innings package until they start picking players.

    — There were reports this afternoon that Aaron Rodgers wants the Packers to trade him, which would be tumultuous.

    — Quick reminder that the NFL season is now 17 games long.

    — There are tons of people outside on a rainy night in Cleveland to watch all this draft stuff happen; having the draft in Las Vegas seems like a much better idea.

    — Well, ESPN made the decision for me; they have Mike Greenberg hosting their coverage, so it is off to the NFL Network.

    — It is 8:10 and there is still a damn band playing in Cleveland; start the draft!!! In happier news, Kris Bryant just doubled for the Cubs/Armadillos. Cubs lead 4-0 in the third.

    — Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock; Urban Meyer is their new coach. You get the feeling this is an all-or-nothing deal for Meyer, he’ll either win really big or he won’t finish his first season. Whatever, thanks for the Jaguars for getting him off of TV, where he was terrible- zero personality.

    — Why is Jacksonville taking the whole 10:00 to make their pick?

    — Eric Lauer is pitching for Milwaukee tonight, his first start of the year. Lauer is 14-19, 4.75 in 57 career games (54 starts), but he is 5-0, 2.11 in seven starts against the Dodgers, which makes no sense.

    — Daniel Jeremiah just said that when the Jets upset the Rams last year, which put the Jaguars in position to pick first in this draft, that Jacksonville sold a ton of season tickets right after. Its the least the Rams could do for Jacksonville- they traded star CB Jalen Ramsey to the Rams.

    — OK, now that Trevor Lawrence is a Jaguar, how long before he starts?

    — Jets have a new coach, they traded their QB, they have the #2 pick. Everyone in their draft room has a suit jacket on; things in Jacksonville were way more casual.

    With the #2 pick, Gang Green selects Zach Wilson; going from BYU to New Jersey qualifies as worlds colliding.

    Someone just called Wilson “…….borderline cocky” Hmmmmm

    There is a woman in a Jets sweatshirt sitting in an easy chair behind Roger Goodell’s pedestal.

    — It irritates me when I hear an analyst say “He’s a winner” because for every winner, there has to be a loser, and I don’t think anyone is pre-ordained to be a loser.

    — 49ers have the third pick in the draft; they take QB Trey Lance, who started 17 games for a I-AA team, playing only one game last year for North Dakota State. Carson Wentz also played for the Bison; what does this mean for Jimmy Garoppolo?

    North Dakota State has a third QB in the NFL, Easton Stick, who is a backup with the Chargers, or at least he was before they got Chase Daniel. Must be a fun time to recruit quarterbacks at North Dakota State.

    — Great stat they just said on TV; last ten QB’s to win the Super Bowl all threw 1,200+ passes in college; Trey Lance threw 318.

    — Atlanta Falcons take TE Kyle Pitts with the 4th pick; his college coach Dan Mullen is sitting there in the draft room with him, getting some free TV time. Matt Ryan must like this pick.

    Pitts is the highest drafted tight end ever.

    — Bengals take Ja’Marr Chase, the LSU WR who didn’t play last year; he is reunited with his old LSU QB Joe Burrow. Explosive receiver; opting out of last year didn’t cost him any money.

    — When was last time the first five picks all went to players on the offensive side of the ball?

    — Miami has the 6th pick; they take WR Jaylen Waddle from Alabama, the second WR in row who was wearing sunglasses backstage. Chase took his shades off when he went on stage; Waddle kept his on. Six offensive players in a row, which ties the all-time record.

    We are told that Waddle is very fast, a good feature for a WR. Are there slow WR’s?

    — Detroit Lions are on the clock; they have a new everything- coach, GM, QB. They’ve won one playoff game in the Super Bowl era; that’s 55 years.

    Lions were very good in the 1950’s; they won three titles back then, before I was alive.

    People in Detroit’s draft room are hugging each other like they just won the Super Bowl, so they got someone they didn’t think they’d get- OT Penei Sewell from Oregon, which has to make Jared Goff a happier guy. Quarterbacks need their blind side protected.

    — Carolina Panthers take CB Jaycee Horn with the 8th pick, the first defensive player taken; he is described as “chippy, competitive; talks a lot on the field”

    — 87-year old Bob Uecker still does commercials on Brewers’ TV in Milwaukee for Usinger’s, a sausage company; he is an amazing guy, so funny. Still does Brewers’ home games on the radio.

    — Denver Broncos are up next; they take a CB from Alabama whose dad also played in the NFL. Guess they’re serious about starting Teddy Bridgewater at QB this fall, though I also just read a thing on the Interweb about Denver trading for Aaron Rodgers.

    They just showed Justin Fields’ family on TV, sitting at home; his parents don’t look happy. Someone needs to tell them that there were six QB’s taken in the 1983 Draft, and Dan Marino was #6 of the six, so you never know what the future will hold.

    Yup, Dan Marino was 27th pick in the draft, which is why this is a fascinating process.

    They also showed Alabama QB Mac Jones, sitting by himself in the draft room with his phone, probably wondering “Who the bleep told me to come here?!?!?!”

    — Dallas Cowboys are on the clock; they traded the pick to Philadelphia, who take DeVonta Smith, the Alabama WR who is also reunited with his college QB, Jalen Hurts.

    Not often two division rivals make a trade like that; Eagles only moved up two slots, but they bypassed the Giants, who may have wanted Smith.

    — Cowboys got a third round pick to drop back two slots.

    — Giants traded the #11 pick to Chicago, which takes Ohio State QB Justin Fields, bad news for Andy Dalton/Nick Foles.

    — Dallas finally gets to pick; they take a LB from Penn State, which means Stephen Jones made the pick, not his father, who prefers flashier choices.

    — Damn, to drop back nine slots in the draft, Giants got:

    — 5th round pick (164th overall) in this draft.

    — Bears 4th round pick 2022.

    — Bears’ first round pick in 2022.

    Seems like a pretty good haul, if they connect with those picks.

    — Chargers have a new coach and a young QB; they took a tackle from Northwestern; when you have a good, young QB, you make sure he is well-protected.

    — Lot of trades; Jets traded with Minnesota to move up from #23 to #14- they took Alijah Vera-Tucker, a guard from USC. You draft a young QB, you make sure he is well-protected.

    — Patriots take QB Mac Jones from Alabama, who was expected to go a lot higher. Belichick and Nick Saban are good friends, so this makes sense.

    — With the 16th pick, Arizona Cardinals take Zaven Collins, a LB from Tulsa.

    — This is the first time I can remember where the draft was held before the schedule for next year was released- that comes out May 12. Seriously, for like an hour, I put everything aside as soon as the schedule comes out.

    I get my second vaccination May 14; when I get home from that, I’ll be looking online for flights and hotel rooms for my first vacation in two years. Have to pick a good NFL weekend, or maybe even two weekends; we’ll see. Football weekends in Las Vegas are lot of fun.

    — Las Vegas Raiders took a tackle from Alabama; lot of Crimson Tide guys getting picked.

    — Miami Dolphins are picking again; they take a defensive end from Miami FL, who apparently returned punts for his high school team. Must be a very good athlete.

    Last year, only 34% of players in the NFL were guys drafted in Rounds 1-3; the GM/scouts are so important in pro football. Thats why Saturday is a very important day- you can find diamonds in the rough at the end of the draft, guys who make a big difference.

    — Washington takes a LB from Kentucky; they had taken a defensive lineman in the first round the previous four years, so at least they change things up some.

    Washington needs to come up with a nickname, an actual mascot. It can’t be that difficult; as a matter of fact, I’ll do it for them— Washington RedTails, honoring pilots from World War II.

    They made a movie about the RedTails; they could keep everything pretty much the same, the team song, the colors, all that. Simple stuff.

    — Last item of the night, then I’m off to write the baseball article; with the #20 pick, Giants take Kadarius Toney, a WR from Florida. Graphic says “inconsistent hands” always a solid quality for a receiver.


    I’ll be back tomorrow, with more of this jocularity. Guy I used to know made fun of me because I like watching the draft; it was freakin’ rude, because we all like different stuff, and that’s what makes life interesting.

  2. #2
    Tuesday’s Den: Schedule notes for AFC teams


    — Three of their first four games are on the road.
    — They play in Denver October 3; their next road game isn’t til November 11.
    — Weeks 10-14, they play four road games in five weeks.

    — Four primetime games; three of them are on the road.
    — Play in New Orleans Thanksgiving night.
    — Two games with New England are late, in weeks 13/16.


    — Only primetime game is Week 4 vs Jacksonville.
    — Weeks 6-8; three straight road games.
    — Four of their first six games are against NFC North teams.


    — Go to Baltimore in Week 12, have Week 13 bye, host Ravens in Week 14
    — Have three primetime games, including January 3 in Pittsburgh.
    — Christmas Day at Lambeau Field should be nice and toasty.

    — Four of their first seven games are in Eastern time zone.
    — Only primetime game: Week 7 in Cleveland.
    — Play Chargers/Chiefs in Weeks 12-13, then again in Weeks 17-18.

    — 13 games at 1:00 Sunday; not a lot of faith from the NFL.
    — Only primetime game: Week 3 vs Carolina.
    — From October 11-November 27, have only one home game.

    — Weeks 3-5: three straight road games.
    — Three of their four primetime games are on the road.
    — Week 14 bye; latest possible bye.

    — Only primetime game: Week 4 at Cincinnati.
    — Weeks 16-17 at Jets/Patriots, cold weather games.
    — Week 6, they play the Dolphins over in England.

    — From October 25-December 15, have only one road game.
    — Three of their last four games are on the road.
    — Week 16 Thursday game at Chargers is long trip on short week.


    — First Allegiant Stadium game with fans; Week 1 Monday nighter vs Ravens.
    — Play the Cowboys in Dallas Thanksgiving Day.
    — Weeks 14-15, have consecutive trips east, to Kansas City/Cleveland.

    — First SoFi Stadium game with fans: Week 2 vs Dallas.
    — Have three primetime games, all at home.
    — Play Chiefs in Week 3, then not again until Week 15.

    — Play New England in Week 1, then not again until Week 18
    — In Week 6, play Jaguars over in England.
    — Have only two 4:00 games, none after Week 3.

    — Host Tom Brady/Buccaneers in Week 4 Sunday night game.
    — Patriots’ other two primetime games are on road.
    — Four of their eight road games are in domes.

    — Visit Sam Darnold/Panthers in season opener.
    — In Week 5, play Falcons over in England.
    — Only night game: Week 9 Thursday game at Indianapolis.

    — Play the normal five primetime games, three of them at home.
    — Play rival Ravens in Weeks 13/18.
    — Host Las Vegas in Week 2, after Raiders played on Monday nite in Week 1.

    — Week 16 Thursday game vs 49ers is tough spot for the visitors.
    — Play 13 games at 1:00 Sunday; not lot of faith from the NFL.
    — Week 2 at Seattle is their only 4:00 game all season.

  3. #3
    Friday’s Den: Schedule notes for NFC teams


    — Three primetime games, all at home.
    — Three of first four games are on the road.
    — Their last game outdoors is Week 13,

    — Play Jets in England in Week 6, have the early Week 6 bye
    — Only prime-time game is Week 11 vs New England.
    — January 2nd in Buffalo could be dicey for a dome team.

    — Sam Darnold faces his old team (Jets) in Week 1.
    — Week 3 at Houston is their only primetime game.
    — Play division rival Buccaneers in weeks 16/18.

    — Their odd-numbered games are all on road, even-numbered games all at home
    — Three of their four primetime games are on road.
    — Play division rival Vikings in weeks 15/18.


    — Play three straight weeks on road, in weeks 13-15.
    — Three of their last five games are NFC East road games.
    — Have four primetime games, plus they play the Raiders on Thanksgiving.

    — Only primetime game is week 2 at Green Bay
    — Lions visit Rams and old friend Matthew Stafford in week 7.
    — Road games at Green Bay/Chicago are in September; they visit Denver in Week 14.

    — Play primetime games in weeks 2-3, have five night games overall.
    — Host Detroit in Week 2, don’t visit the Lions until Week 18.
    — Have only six 1:00 games; lot of national TV dates.

    — First two games are against teams with new QB’s this season.
    — Jared Goff and Lions visit in Week 7
    — Host Arizona in Week 4, then have Thursday game in Seattle four days later.

    — Three of last five games are at night, including games in Chicago/Green Bay.
    — Don’t play Bears until Week 15, then play ‘em again in Week 18.
    — Host old friend Kevin Stefanski when Browns visit in Week 4.

    — In Weeks 12-16, play night games four weeks out of five.
    — Have five primetime games, only four 4:00 games. Nine 1:00 games.
    — Week 6 bye is an early one.

    — Have three primetime games, all on the road.
    — Visit Washington in Week 2, don’t see them again until Week 18.
    — Have consecutive December road games in Miami, Los Angeles.

    — Five of their last six games are divisional games.
    — Play consecutive weeks (12/13) in the Meadowlands, vs Giants/Jets
    — Have only two primetime games.

    — Open @ Detroit/@ Philly; will they just stay east for the week?
    — Host Falcons in Week 15, have Week 16 Thursday game in Nashville.
    — Got good draw with their 17th game against the Bengals.

    — Play three of first four games on the road.
    — Weeks 5-7 are all night games.
    — Five of their eight road games are in domes.

    — Tom Brady takes the Bucs into Foxboro in Week 4.
    — Only six 1:00 games; three of them are Weeks 16-18.
    — Play division rival Carolina in Weeks 16/18.

    — Weeks 14-17: Dallas/Philly/Dallas/Philly.
    — Play Giants in Week 2, then not again until the season finale.
    — Ron Rivera visits his old team (Carolina) in Week 11

  4. #4
    Thursday’s Den: Quick thoughts on the 2021 NFL schedule

    I’ll have more on the NFL schedule over the next few days, but here are some early thoughts on the 2021 schedule:

    — NFL teams will play 17 games this season for the first time; exhibition games have been reduced to three. AFC teams get the extra home game this season.

    — Regular season ends January 9th, with games in Buffalo and Cleveland. Have fun!!!

    — Jets traded QB Sam Darnold to Carolina this winter; the wise guys who create the schedule created an interesting Week 1 matchup, Jets @ Carolina. Go figure, a coincidence I’m sure.

    — Christmas is on a Saturday, Halloween is a Sunday this year; there are two Christmas games. Browns-Packers, Colts-Cardinals. Which casino will I be watching those games in?

    — This has nothing to do with football, but Halloween weekend in Las Vegas is tremendous, take my word on that.

    — Cowboys-Buccaneers is the Week 1 Thursday game, where the defending champ traditionally opens the next season at home. Home team is 15-3 SU in this game the last 18 years, 11-3-4 against the spread.

    — Don’t think the NFL foresees Aaron Rodgers being traded to Denver; Broncos have one game on in prime-time, Green Bay has five.

    — NFL doesn’t think much of the Patriots; only three primetime games, one of which is Tom Brady’s return to Foxboro in Week 4.

    — Thanksgiving Day slate:
    Bears @ Detroit, Raiders @ Dallas, Bills @ New Orleans

    — Non-schedule news; Green Bay signed backup QB Blake Bortles, re-uniting him with OC Nathaniel Hackett- they worked together in Jacksonville from 2015-18.

    — Division rivals Carolina/Tampa Bay have their two meetings in weeks 16/18.

    — I’m totally befuddled that Rams-Lions isn’t a primetime game. Detroit got one game on in primetime, at Green Bay in Week 2. Very surprised by this, seeing how the teams swapped quarterbacks this winter. ESPN obviously didn’t want the game.

    Every team got at least one primetime game; eight teams got just one.

    — Four teams have the earliest byes, Week 6— Falcons, Saints, Jets, 49ers.

    — Four teams have the latest byes, Week 14— Colts, Dolphins, Patriots, Eagles.

    — Nine teams got the maximum five primetime games.

    — Cardinals/Chargers have three prime-time games, all at home, which is odd. Giants got three primetime games, all on the road— they can’t be real happy about that.

    I’ll have some notes for each team’s schedule over the next week or so; season doesn’t start until September 9, so there is plenty of time.

  5. #5
    10) Seven NFL teams have new head coaches this season.

    13 teams have new offensive coordinators, 15 have new DC’s.

    9) Last two seasons, Chargers were 7-16 in games decided by 8 or fewer points; they were only 9-7 in games they led at halftime, 9-5 in games they led after three quarters, which is why they now have a new coach.

    8) Since 2012, Jacksonville Jaguars are 39-105, five fewer wins than any other team (Cleveland).

    There is some hope for the Jaguars; of the last seven head coaches to jump from college to the NFL, three of them made the playoffs in their first season.

    7) Las Vegas Raiders have had one winning season in last 18 years; never thought I’d see them become one of the NFL’s worst franchises. Over last four years, Raiders ranked 29-30-31-28 in defensive efficiency. Not good.

    6) Will having fans back in their stadium help the Minnesota Vikings?

    From 2016-19, Vikings were 21-9-3 ATS at home; last year, they were 2-6 ATS.

    5) Over last three years, Eagles are 10-18 ATS as a favorite, 7-11 as an underdog. Under is 17-7 in their home games, over 14-7 in their road tilts.

    4) Detroit Lions were 14-34 SU last three years; they haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. Last three years, over is 21-10 in their games. Lions are 8-15-1 ATS in last 24 home games.

    3) Carolina Panthers have a +12 advantage in rest days between games this season, the most any NFL team has had since 2002.

    2) Cowboys play Atlanta in Week 10; figures to be an interesting game, with former Falcons coach Dan Quinn now the defensive coordinator in Dallas. Quinn went 43-42 in 5+ years as Atlanta’s coach, winning the NFC title in 2016. Falcons lost that Super Bowl, blowing 28-3 lead.

  6. #6
    Monday’s Den: Early season trends for AFC teams


    — Won/covered last five season openers
    — Won last four season openers by combined 164-19.
    — 11-5 ATS in last 16 home openers.
    — Under 6-2 last eight home openers.
    — Won/covered four of last five road openers.
    — Over 9-4-1 last 14 road openers.

    — Home team won their last six Week 1 games.
    — 9-5 ATS last 14 home openers.
    — 6-2 ATS as a favorite in home openers.
    — 11-8 ATS in last 19 road openers.
    — Under 10-7 last 17 road openers.
    — Were favored once in last 17 road openers (0-1 ATS)

    — Started out 1-0 four of last seven years.
    — Won/covered once in last five home openers.
    — 3-6-1 ATS as favorite in home openers.
    — Under 9-4 last 13 home openers.
    — 6-1 ATS last seven road openers.
    — Over 9-2 last 11 road openers.

    — 2-19-1 SU in season openers (1-1-1 last three)
    — 5-4 ATS in last 9 home openers, after 1-12 stretch.
    — 0-6 ATS all-time as favorite in home openers.
    — Over 5-2 last seven home opener.
    — 3-5-1 ATS last nine road openers.
    — Last five road openers stayed under total.

    — Lost last two home openers, both 16-14, after a 27-2 run.
    — Last five home openers were decided by total of 11 points.
    — 8-4 ATS last dozen home openers.
    — Over 8-5-1 last 14 home openers.
    — Lost last four road openers, scoring 16.8 ppg.
    — 7-10 ATS last 17 road openers.

    — Lost three of last four home openers, scoring 14.5 ppg.
    — 1-5 ATS last six home openers.
    — Under 10-6 last 16 home openers.
    — Lost five of last six road openers.
    — Under 5-1 last six road openers.
    — 3-1-1 all-time ATS as favorite in road openers.

    — Started out 0-1 the last seven years.
    — Last five season openers went over total.
    — Won last two home openers, covered 3 of last 4.
    — Lost nine of last 11 road openers.
    — Four of last five road openers went over.
    — 4-12-2 ATS last 18 games as underdog in road openers.

    — Won season openers three of last four years.
    — Hasn’t been favored in their home opener since 2010.
    — Lost seven of last nine home openers.
    — Last five home openers went over total.
    — Lost 11 of last 13 road openers, but covered last four.
    — Under is 12-6 in last 18 road openers.

    — Won last six season openers, covered last four.
    — Last five years, scored 33-42-38-40-34 in Week 1.
    — Won last five home openers, covered last four.
    — Over 4-0-2 last six home openers.
    — Won/covered six of last eight road openers.
    — Over 4-2 last six road openers.

    — Won four of last five season openers.
    — Won three of last four home openers.
    — 3-6 ATS last 9 tries as a favorite in home openers.
    — Over 5-2 last seven home openers.
    — 10-3-1 ATS last 14 road openers.
    — Since 1997, they’re 1-3 ATS as a favorite in road openers.

    — 4-6 ATS last 10 tries as a favorite in home openers.
    — Lost three of last four home openers SU.
    — Over 14-4 last 18 home openers.
    — 6-2-1 ATS last nine road openers.
    — 4-0-1 ATS last five Week 1 road games.
    — 10-5-1 ATS as an underdog in road openers.

    — Lost four of last six season openers.
    — Won/covered six of last nine home openers
    — Favored in only 6 of last 17 home openers.
    — Over 11-1 last dozen home openers.
    — 5-12 SU in last 17 road openers (5-3 ATS last 8)
    — Since 1994, under is 22-5 in their road openers (12-0 last 12)

    — Started 1-0 in 15 of last 17 seasons.
    — Won 7 of last 8 home openers (4-1 ATS last five)
    — Under 7-2 last nine home openers.
    — Won 7 of last 10 road openers.
    — 15-9 ATS last 24 road openers.
    — Over 5-2 last seven road openers.

    — Started 0-1 four of last five years.
    — Since 1992, 3-10-1 ATS as favorite in home opener.
    — Lost four of last five home openers SU.
    — Under 3-1 last four home openers.
    — 11-4 ATS in last 15 road openers.
    — Over 5-2 last seven road openers.

    — Opened on road last six years (3-2-1 SU, 2-3-1 ATS)
    — Favored in 19 of last 20 home openers (W15-9, +1.5 in ’10)
    — 15-3 SU last 18 home openers (0-3 ATS last three)
    — Under 8-4 last dozen home openers.
    — 3-1-1 SU last five road openers.
    — Under is 7-1 in last eight road openers.

    — Lost SU last three times they opened season at home.
    — 2-5 SU last seven home openers (2-7 ATS last nine)
    — Under 6-3 last nine home openers.
    — Won 7 of last 8 road openers SU
    — Since 2007, 9-1 ATS as underdog in road opener.
    — Over 3-1 last four road openers.

  7. #7
    Tuesday’s Den: Week 1-2 trends for NFC teams


    — 1-3-1 in last five Week 1 games.
    — 0-4-1 in last five home openers.
    — Under 7-2 last nine home openers.
    — 10-3 ATS last 13 road openers.
    — 1-4 SU last five road openers.
    — Under 10-5 last 15 road openers.

    — 1-4 in last five Week 1 games.
    — 17-5 ATS in last 22 home openers.
    — Since 2004, 8-1 ATS as a favorite in HO’s.
    — Over 4-1 last five home openers.
    — Lost last three road openers.
    — 5-12 ATS last 17 road openers (under 13-4).

    — Host Sam Darnold’s old team (Jets) in Week 1.
    — Last 2 years, lost 30-27/34-30 at home in Week 1.
    — 6-11-1 ATS last 18 home openers.
    — Under 16-6-1 last 23 home openers.
    — 4-8 ATS last dozen road openers.
    — Over 4-1 last five road openers.

    — 1-6 in last seven Week 1 games.
    — 2-5 SU/ATS last seven home openers.
    — Under 4-0 last four home openers.
    — 4-6 last ten road openers.
    — 2-4 ATS last six road openers.
    — Under 16-5 last 21 road openers.

    — Under 5-2 last seven Week 1 games.
    — Won last four home openers, scoring 35-40 points in last two.
    — Over 8-6 last 14 home openers.
    — Lost three of last four road openers.
    — 10-4 ATS last 14 games as an underdog in road openers.
    — Under 6-3 last nine road openers.

    — Last ten season openers went over the total.
    — 0-2-1 SU last three season openers (favored in all 3)
    — Lost four of last six home openers.
    — Over 8-3 last 11 home openers.
    — 3-6 ATS last nine road openers.
    — Five of last six road openers went over.

    — Won last six season openers (5-1 ATS)
    — Over 7-3 last ten season openers.
    — Won 8 in row, 13 of last 14 home openers (11-3 ATS)
    — Under 3-1 last four home openers.
    — Won/covered last four Week 1 road games.
    — Over 12-3 last 15 road openers.

    — Under McVay, Rams are 4-0 SU in Week 1.
    — Won/covered last six home openers.
    — Under is 4-1 in last five home openers.
    — Under McVay, Rams are 4-0 in road openers, covering last three
    — Last four road openers, Rams scored 41-33-30-37 points.
    — Over is 3-1 in last four road openers.

    — This is first time in 5 years they open on road.
    — Won/covered four of last five Week 1 games.
    — Won/covered five of last six home openers.
    — Under is 6-1 in last seven home openers.
    — 0-3-1 SU, 0-4 ATS last four road openers.
    — Under 12-5 last 17 road openers.


    — Started nine of last ten seasons 0-1.
    — 1-8 SU, 0-9 ATS last nine home openers.
    — Scored 14.2 ppg in last five home openers.
    — Under 7-0 last seven home openers.
    — Lost 9 of last 11 road openers (3-7-1 ATS)
    — Under 4-1 last five road openers.

    — Lost five of last seven season openers.
    — 1-5 ATS in last six home openers.
    — Last 3 years, scored 40-30-34 points in home opener.
    — Last five home openers went over total.
    — 3-12 ATS in last 15 road openers.
    — Over 9-4 last 13 road openers.

    — Won four of last five season openers.
    — Won four of last five home openers.
    — Won 5 of last 7 Week 1 games on road.
    — Despite that, are 3-9 ATS in last 12 home openers.
    — Lost last 3 road openers, giving up 27-24-27 points.
    — Over 7-4-1 last dozen road openers.

    — Won 8 of last 10 season openers.
    — Under 6-1 last seven season openers.
    — Won 7 of last 10 home openers (0-4 ATS last four)
    — Under 6-1 last seven home openers.
    — Last 2 years, won road opener 31-17/31-13.
    — Under 7-4-1 last dozen road openers.

    — Split last six season openers SU.
    — Won 17 of last 18 home openers (14-4 ATS)
    — Under 16-3-1 last 20 home openers.
    — Won last 2 road openers 28-26/38-25, after losing 11 of previous 12.
    — 3-12-1 ATS in last 16 road openers.
    — Over 5-2 last seven road openers.

    — Won three of last four Week 1 games.
    — Four of last five Week 1 games went over.
    — Won/covered three of last four home openers.
    — Scored 27+ points in four of last five home openers.
    — 7-4 ATS in last 11 road openers.
    — Over 4-1 in last five road openers.

    — Covered last three Week 1 games.
    — 1-4 ATS in last five home openers as a dog.
    — 2-7 SU in last nine home openers.
    — Over 7-3 last ten home openers.
    — Covered four of last five road openers.
    — Over is 8-4 in last dozen road openers.

  8. #8
    5) Brandon Staley is the new head coach of the Chargers; five years ago, he was the defensive coordinator at John Carroll U, a D-3 program in Ohio. Life moves fast…….

    4) Last three years, New Jersey Jets are 5-19 SU on road, 8-16 ATS; last two years, Jets are 0-4 ATS as a favorite. This year they have a new coach and they figure to be starting a rookie QB, so it could be another long year, but at least one that could build to a positive future.

    3) Vikings play their home games in a dome now, but their last two road games this year are at Chicago December 20, at Green Bay January 2nd, both night games. Brilliant scheduling.

    2) When Jacksonville Jaguars visit Seattle on Halloween, Seahawks’ last two OC’s will be in the visitors’ coaching booth. Brian Schottenheimer, Darren Bevell both work for the Jaguars now; do they have any special insight into defending Russell Wilson?

  9. #9
    Thursday’s Den: First draft of my Week 1 NFL article

    Dallas @ Tampa Bay

    — Last 4 years, Cowboys are 5-9-1 ATS as road underdogs.
    — Dallas lost three of last four road openers SU.
    — Cowboys are 10-4 ATS last 14 games as a dog in road openers.
    — Under is 6-3 in their last nine road openers.
    — Under is 5-2 in their last seven Week 1 games.

    — Defending Super Bowl champs are ATS in Week 1 the next year.
    — Tampa Bay was 3-2-1 ATS LY as a home favorite.
    — Buccaneers won three of last four Week 1 games.
    — Bucs won/covered three of last four home openers.
    — Tampa scored 27+ points in four of last five home openers.
    — Four of their last five Week 1 games went over.

    — Dallas won 7 of last 8 series games.
    — Cowboys lost 3 of last 5 visits here, scoring 6-0-7 points in losses.
    — Favorites are 5-2 ATS in last seven series games.


    Sunday games

    Pittsburgh @ Buffalo

    — Steelers opened on road last six years (3-2-1 SU, 2-3-1 ATS)
    — Steelers are 10-3 ATS in last 13 games as road underdogs.
    — Pittsburgh is 3-1-1 SU last five road openers.
    — Under is 7-1 in their last eight road openers.

    — Bills are 11-6 ATS in last 17 games as home favorites.
    — Home team won their last six Week 1 games.
    — Bills are 9-5 ATS last 14 home openers.
    — Buffalo is 6-2 ATS as a favorite in home openers.

    — Crowd should be mixed for this game; tough day for security guards.
    — Bills beat Pittsburgh last two years, after losing previous six meetings.
    — Steelers gained only 224 yards, lost 26-15 here LY; Buffalo scored on pick-6.
    — Pittsburgh won four of last five visits to Orchard Park.

    NJ Jets @ Carolina
    — Jets have new coach, new QB.
    — Jets started 0-1 four of last five years.
    — Last five years, Gang Green is 10-22-2 ATS as road dogs.
    — Jets are 11-4 ATS in last 15 road openers.
    — Over 5-2 last seven road openers.

    — Last 2 years, Panthers lost 30-27/34-30 at home in Week 1.
    — Last 5 years, Carolina is 10-16 ATS as a home favorite.
    — Panthers are 6-11-1 ATS last in 18 home openers.
    — Under 16-6-1 last 23 home openers.

    — Sam Darnold played 3 years for the Jets, going 13-25 as their QB.
    — Panthers are 3-2 in last five series games, scoring 30+ in all three wins.
    — Jets lost 30-20/30-3 in last two visits to Charlotte.

    Philadelphia @ Atlanta
    — New coach; 2nd-year QB started four games (1-3) LY.
    — Eagles won four of last five season openers.
    — Last 5 years, Eagles are 12-13 ATS as road underdogs.
    — Philly won 5 of last 7 Week 1 games on road.
    — Over 7-4-1 in their last dozen road openers.

    — New coach, new GM for Atlanta.
    — Last 5 years, Falcons are 15-18 ATS as home favorites.
    — Falcons lost four of last five Week 1 games.
    — Atlanta is 17-5 ATS in last 22 home openers.
    — Since 2004, Falcons are 8-1 ATS as a favorite in HO’s.
    — Over is 4-1 in Atlanta’s last five home openers.

    — Eagles are 11-5 in last 16 series games.
    — Philly lost last three visits here, by 4-2-4 points.
    — For what its worth, Matt Ryan is from Philadelphia

    Minnesota @ Cincinnati

    — Last three years, Vikings are 6-3 ATS as road favorites.
    — Minnesota won/covered four of last five Week 1 games.
    — Vikings are 0-3-1 SU, 0-4 ATS last four road openers.
    — This is first time in 5 years Vikings open on road.
    — Under 12-5 in their last 17 road openers.

    — Cincinnati started out 1-0 four of last seven years.
    — Bengals are 8-7-1 ATS last 16 games as home dogs.
    — Cincy won/covered once in last five home openers.
    — Bengals are 3-6-1 ATS as favorite in home openers.
    — Under is 9-4 in their last 13 home openers.

    — Coach Zimmer was Bengals’ DC from 2008-13.
    — Home side won last four series games.
    — Vikings lost last two visits here, 42-14/37-8.

    San Francisco @ Detroit
    — Last 2 years, 49ers won road opener 31-17/31-13.
    — 49ers won 8 of last 10 season openers.
    — Niners are 5-3 ATS last eight games as road favorite.
    — Under 6-1 last seven season openers.
    — Under 7-4-1 last dozen road openers.

    — New coach, new GM, new QB for Lions.
    — Pretty sure Detroit will try hard to run ball a lot.
    — 0-2-1 SU last three season openers (favored in all 3)
    — Lost four of last six home openers.
    — Over 8-3 last 11 home openers.
    — Lions’ last ten season openers went over the total.

    — 49ers won 8 of last 9 series games.
    — Favorites are 4-0-1 ATS in last five series games.
    — Niners won 2 of last 3 visits here, losing 32-15 in last visit, in 2015.

    Arizona @ Tennessee
    — Arizona is 1-3-1 SU in last five Week 1 games.
    — Cardinals lost 4 of last 5 road openers SU, but covered 10 of last 13.
    — Last 2 years, Arizona is 6-3-1 ATS as road underdogs.
    — Under 10-5 last 15 road openers.

    — Tennessee lost SU last three times they opened season at home.
    — Titans are 2-5 SU last seven home openers (2-7 ATS last nine)
    — Last five years, Tennessee is 14-11-2 ATS as home favorites.
    — Under is 6-3 in last nine home openers.

    — Arizona won three of last four series games.
    — Titans lost last meeting 12-7 in desert in 2017.
    — Redbirds split last two visits here; Tennessee gained 460-531 TY, though.

    Seattle @ Indianapolis
    — Seahawks split last six season openers SU.
    — Seattle is 8-4-1 ATS in last 13 games as road underdogs.
    — Seattle won last 2 road openers 28-26/38-25, after losing 11 of previous 12.
    — Seahawks are 3-12-1 ATS in last 16 road openers.
    — Over is 5-2 in last seven road openers.

    — Colts started out 0-1 the last seven years.
    — First game for Carson Wentz as a Colt.
    — Last three years, Indy is 9-10-1 ATS as a home favorite.
    — Won last two home openers, covered 3 of last 4.
    — Last five season openers went over total.

    — Colts won three of last five series games.
    — Seattle lost 34-28/34-17 in last two visits here.
    — Seahawks won last meeting 46-18 at home, in 2017.

    LA Chargers @ Washington
    — New coach, new OC for Chargers.
    — Bolts are 8-4-2 ATS last 14 games as road favorites.
    — Chargers are 4-0-1 ATS last five Week 1 road games.
    — Bolts are 6-2-1 ATS last nine road openers
    — Bolts are 10-5-1 ATS as underdogs in road openers.

    — QB Fitzpatrick gets to start for another NFL team.
    — Washington is 4-7 ATS in last 11 games as home underdogs.
    — Washington covered last three Week 1 games.
    — Washington is 1-4 ATS in last five home openers as a dog.
    — Washington is 2-7 SU in last nine home openers.
    — Over is 7-3 in their last ten home openers.

    — Chargers won four of last five series games.
    — Bolts split last two visits here, losing last visit, in 2013.

    Jacksonville @ Houston
    — First NFL game for Urban Meyer figures to be interesting.
    — Jaguars won season openers three of last four years.
    — Last 3 years, Jacksonville is 8-12-1 ATS as road underdogs.
    — Jaguars lost 11 of last 13 road openers, but covered last four.
    — Under is 12-6 in their last 18 road openers.

    — HC Culley is also new head coach; he’s never been a coordinator.
    — Texans are 9-14-1 ATS last 24 games as home favorites.
    — Texans lost three of last four home openers, scoring 14.5 ppg.
    — Houston is 1-5 ATS in last six home openers.
    — Under 10-6 in their last 16 home openers.

    — Texans won last six series games.
    — Jaguars are 6-3 ATS in last nine visits to Houston.
    — Two guys who have never been NFL head coaches before.

    Cleveland @ Kansas City
    — Browns are 2-19-1 SU in season openers (1-1-1 last three)
    — Last 5 years, Cleveland is 12-19-1 ATS as road underdogs.
    — Browns are 3-5-1 ATS last nine road openers.
    — Last five road openers stayed under total.

    — Chiefs won last six season openers, covered last four.
    — Last five years, they scored 33-42-38-40-34 in Week 1.
    — Last four years, Chiefs are 20-14 ATS as home favorites.
    — KC won last five home openers, covered last four.
    — Over 4-0-2 in their last six home openers.

    — Chiefs beat Cleveland 22-17 here in LY’s playoffs (led 19-3 at half).
    — Chiefs won last four series games, three by 6 or fewer points.
    — Browns covered last four visits to Arrowhead.

    Miami @ New England
    — Since 1994, under is 22-5 in Miami’s road openers (12-0 last 12)
    — Dolphins lost four of last six season openers.
    — Dolphins are 8-4 ATS in last dozen games as road underdogs.
    — Miami is 5-12 SU in last 17 road openers (5-3 ATS last 8)

    — Patriots started 1-0 in 15 of last 17 seasons.
    — New England won 7 of last 8 home openers (4-1 ATS last five)
    — Last five years, Patriots are 27-15-1 ATS as home favorites.
    — Under 7-2 last nine home openers.

    — These teams split their season series the last four years.
    — New England covered first meeting the last six years.
    — Dolphins lost 11 of last 12 visits to Foxboro (1-8 ATS last nine).

    Green Bay @ New Orleans
    — Green Bay won last six season openers (5-1 ATS)
    — Packers are 5-3 ATS in last eight games as road underdogs.
    — Green Bay won/covered last four Week 1 road games.
    — Over is 12-3 in their last 15 road openers.

    — Saints have new QB for first time since 2005.
    — Last 3 years, Saints are 10-14 ATS as home favorites.
    — New Orleans lost five of last seven season openers.
    — Saints are 1-5 ATS in last six home openers.
    — Last 3 years, scored 40-30-34 points in home opener.
    — Saints lost five of last seven season openers.

    — Teams split last eight series games.
    — Packers won 37-20 here LY, their first win in last four visits to Superdome.

    Denver @ NY Giants
    — Denver lost last four road openers, scoring 16.8 ppg.
    — Last 5 years, Broncos are 18-22 ATS on the road.
    — Broncos are 7-10 ATS last 17 road openers.

    — Giants started nine of last ten seasons 0-1.
    — Last four years, Giants are 9-22-1 ATS at home.
    — Big Blue is 1-8 SU, 0-9 ATS last nine home openers.
    — Giants scored 14.2 ppg in last five home openers.
    — Under 7-0 in their last seven home openers.

    — Denver won three of last five series games.
    — Broncos split last two series games played here.

    Chicago @ LA Rams
    — Chicago is 1-6 in last seven Week 1 games.
    — Bears are 2-4 ATS last six road openers.
    — Last five years, Chicago is 10-16-1 ATS as road underdogs.
    — Bears are 4-6 SU in last ten road openers.
    — Under 16-5 in their last 21 road openers.

    — First game for Stafford as Rams’ QB, after 12 years in Detroit.
    — Rams also have a new defensive coordinator.
    — Under McVay, Rams are 4-0 SU in Week 1.
    — Rams won/covered last six home openers.
    — Under McVay, LA is 14-12-1 ATS as home favorites.
    — Under is 4-1 in last five home openers.

    — First game with fans at SoFi Stadium.
    — Bears won six of last nine series games, but lost 24-10 here LY.
    — Chicago’s only TD in that game was scored by the defense.
    — Bears lost three of last four road series games, losing by 14-10-21 points.

    Baltimore @ Las Vegas
    — Baltimore won/covered last five season openers
    — Ravens won/covered four of last five road openers.
    — Baltimore is 12-5-1 ATS in last 18 games as road favorites.
    — Over is 9-4-1 in their last 14 road openers.

    — Las Vegas won four of last five season openers.
    — Raiders won three of last four home openers.
    — Last three years, Raiders are 7-7 ATS as home underdogs.
    — Las Vegas is 3-5 ATS in last eight tries as a dog in HO’s.
    — Over is 5-2 in their last seven home openers.

    — First game with fans at Allegiant Stadium.
    — Ravens won six of last eight series games.
    — Ravens split last four trips to Oakland; this is their first visit to Las Vegas.
    — Underdogs won three of last four series games SU. [/SIZE]

  10. #10
    Sunday’s Den: Random NFL trends…….

    NFL trends that may come in handy, later this year:

    13) Vikings are 0-7 ATS in last 7 Monday night road games.
    — Minnesota covered six of last seven games vs Detroit.
    — Vikings are 0-6 ATS vs opponent coming off a bye.

    12) Last three years, Giants are 18-6 ATS on road.
    — Giants are 11-1 ATS as a road underdog of less than 7 points.
    — Giants are 4-14 ATS in last 18 games as a home underdog.

    11) Jets are 0-6 ATS in last six games vs Miami.
    — Last four years, Jets are 11-21-1 ATS on the road.

    10) Dolphins are 6-10-1 ATS the week after playing New England.

    9) Patriots covered five of last seven games against the Jets.
    — New England is 8-1 ATS the week after playing the Jets.

    8) Last three years, Eagles are 5-12-1 ATS as a home favorite.
    — Philly is 2-5 ATS in last seven games vs Dallas.

    7) Pittsburgh started 11-0 LY, then lost five of last six games.
    — Steelers had 56 sacks last year (most)
    — Steelers allowed 14 sacks last year (least)

    6) Last four years, 49ers are 5-13-1 ATS as a home favorite.
    — 49ers covered once in their last six games with Arizona.

    5) Seattle is 10-2-1 ATS in last 13 games with San Francisco.
    — Seahawks are 9-2-2 ATS in last 13 games in Eastern time zone.

    4) Tampa Bay is 2-9 ATS in last 11 Thursday games.
    — Last four years, Buccaneers are 8-3-1 ATS as a home underdog.

    3) It has been 16 years since the NFC East champ repeated the next season; Washington win the division last year.

    2) Washington is 0-7 ATS in last seven Monday home games.
    — Washington is 0-5 ATS the week after playing the Eagles.

    1) Tennessee is 31-21 SU under Vrabel, but was outgained all three years.
    — Last three years, Titans are 6-9-1 ATS as a home favorite.
    — Tennessee is 2-11 ATS the week after a Monday night game.

  11. #11
    Arizona Cardinals 2021 NFL Betting Preview: Third Times A Charm For Kliff and Kyler?

    Year 3 of the Kingsbury/Kyler marriage again shows lots of promise, but with a greater focus on passing — and less of Murray running — what are the best ways to bet Arizona? Find out in our Cardinals 2021 season betting preview.

    The promise of the Arizona Cardinals is part of the reason why the NFC West is the NFL’s best division. The Cardinals have an exciting young core on the field — and on the sideline — and anchored that potential with veteran additions on both sides of the ball in 2021.

    That experience is much needed after Arizona drifted off course in the second half of the 2020 campaign, starting the season 5-2 SU and ATS before burning bettors like the desert sun with a 2-7 ATS finish (3-6 SU).

    Here’s our 2021 Arizona Cardinals NFL betting preview.

    Arizona Cardinals futures odds
    Futures Bet Odds
    Super Bowl +3,200
    To Win Conference +1,600
    To Win Division +550
    Season Win Total 8.5 (O +130/U -160)
    Best futures bet: Over 8.5 wins (+130)

    Outside of the NFC West (Arizona was 2-4 SU in divisional games last year), the Cardinals slate isn’t too prickly and ranks 13th in strength of schedule. They match up with the AFC South in non-conference competition and play some of the tougher non-divisional matchups at home (Minnesota, Green Bay, Indianapolis). On top of the matchup with the Packers, Arizona also plays Houston: two teams whose star quarterbacks could be MIA by the time those games roll around. The oddsmakers have the Cards as favorites in nine games with one pick'em on the board.

    What will win bets: Passing game

    We enter Year 3 under coach Kliff Kingsbury and the third season for QB Kyler Murray. The cupboard is loaded with offensive options, most notably the receiving corps. DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, A.J. Green (if healthy), and rookie WR Rondale Moore will thrive in the up-tempo 10 personnel playbook and Arizona will score — a lot.

    What will lose bets: Running game

    Besides Lamar Jackson’s record-setting running, no quarterback rushed for more yards than Murray in 2020. That’s not a good thing and Murray knows it, stating he would like to run less. Protecting Murray from punishment and keeping pass rushes honest falls on Arizona’s ground game, which replaces the departed (and underrated) Kenyan Drake with the versatile-yet-fragile James Conner.

    Arizona Cardinals game-by-game odds

    According to the lookahead lines, 10 of Arizona’s 17 games have spreads of a field goal or less. Arizona is 6-9 ATS (6-8-1 SU) when set between -3 and +3 in the two years under Kingsbury.

    Week Opponent Spread Total

    1 @ Tennessee +3.5 51

    2 vs Minnesota -3 49.5

    3 @ Jacksonville -2.5 49

    4 @ L.A. Rams +4.5 49

    5 vs San Francisco PK 46.5

    6 @ Cleveland +4.5 50

    7 vs Houston -10.5 49

    8 vs Green Bay -3 49

    9 @ San Francisco +5.5 47

    10 vs Carolina -6 49.5

    11 @ Seattle +3.5 50.5

    12 BYE

    13 @ Chicago -1.5 46

    14 vs L.A. Rams +2.5 48

    15 @ Detroit -6.5 47

    16 vs Indianapolis -1 50

    17 @ Dallas +2.5 52

    18 vs Seattle -2 49

    Early season forecast

    The Cardinals were a last-second field goal from Detroit away from a 3-0 start last September and have a solid shot at winning the first three games of 2021.

    They opened as 2.5-point underdogs in Tennessee for Week 1 and that spread ticked up to Titans -3 with their addition of Julio Jones. This 1 p.m. ET kickoff will be a contrast in tempos, with Arizona’s no-huddle putting the Tennessee defense on its heels and the Titans plodding run game trying to chew up clock and ice Murray & Co. on the sideline.

    Week 2 is the home opener, with the Vikings coming to town for a 4:05 p.m. ET start. The Cardinals are giving a field goal to Minnesota, which is playing its second straight road game. Arizona is 8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS, and 4-7 O/U in home openers since 2010.

    A cross-country trip to Jacksonville for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff is on the Week 3 docket. Bookies have the Cards pegged as 2.5-point road chalk. Arizona could get caught looking ahead to Week 4’s collision with L.A. However, Kingsbury is 3-1 ATS on the road versus AFC foes since 2019.

    2021 NFL Win Totals
    2021 NFL Win Totals

    By: Jared Hochman

    Spot bet
    Week 4 – at Los Angeles Rams (+4.5)
    This first taste of the 2021 Rams — and new QB Matt Stafford — comes in a tricky schedule spot for the Cardinals, who will be playing their second straight away game and third road stop in four weeks to open the season. Plus Arizona went 0-2 SU and ATS versus Rams last season.

    Totals tip
    The Cardinals were one of the best Under bets in football last season, going 5-11 Over/Under — including five straight Under winners to start the schedule. A disruptive pass rush and solid secondary can take credit for those results.

    However, lockdown corner Patrick Peterson is gone and Arizona is hoping to squeeze out whatever is left from defensive veterans Malcolm Butler and J.J Watt. This season, oddsmakers have set five of Arizona's games with sub-49 totals. The Cards are 6-9 O/U in games with totals of 48.5 points or less under Kingsbury.

    Star power props: Kyler Murray, QB
    Player prop Odds to win
    MVP +1,200
    Passing leader +4,100
    Passing yards total 4,150.5 (O -115/U -115)
    Best prop: Passing Leader (+4,100)

    Murray finished with 3,971 passing yards last year (13th) and played the second half of the season with a bum shoulder, while the offensive line allowed 17 sacks in the final eight games after giving up only 10 in the opening eight outings.

    Kingsbury’s 10 personnel sets (four WRs) and no-huddle attack want Murray throwing more and running less, and with a bevy of reliable targets, the former Heisman winner should climb the passing charts quickly. His top target, DeAndre Hopkins, is the favorite to lead the league in receiving yards at +750, so it only makes sense that Murray should challenge for the passing title as well.

    2021 NFL Divisional Odds
    2021 NFL Divisional Odds

    By: Chris Toman

    Trend to know
    Arizona is 3-9 SU and 4-6-2 ATS versus NFC West rivals since Kingsbury took over as head coach in 2019.

    Divisional games

    Week 4: +4.5 at Rams
    Week 5: PK vs 49ers
    Week 9: +5.5 at 49ers
    Week 11: +3.5 at Seahawks
    Week 14: +2.5 vs Rams
    Week 18: -2 vs Seahawks

    Where can I bet on the NFL?
    You can bet on NFL odds at every online and casino sportsbook, including NFL moneylines, spreads, Over/Under totals, and a ton of NFL prop odds. Head over to our best-suggested sportsbooks for the top spots to bet on NFL odds in your area.

  12. #12
    Los Angeles Rams 2021 NFL Betting Preview: Sean McVay Has A Shiny New Toy

    It's Super Bowl or bust for the Rams, who still have an elite defense but have finally added an elite QB in Matthew Stafford. L.A. is sitting at +600 to win the NFC — is that our favorite Rams prop? Find out in our Los Angeles season betting preview.

    The Los Angeles Rams wasted no time getting their ducks in a row for the 2021 NFL season, trading for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford in March.

    After a Big Game appearance in 2019-20 and watching poor QB play soil the league’s best defense last year, enough was enough for head coach Sean McVay. Jared Goff is gone and it’s Super Bowl or bust for an L.A. team that finished 10-6 SU and 9-7 ATS, second in the NFC West, and was bounced in the Divisional Round.

    We present our 2021 Los Angeles Rams NFL betting preview.

    Los Angeles Rams futures odds
    Futures Bet Odds
    Super Bowl +1,200
    To Win Conference +600
    To Win Division +200
    Season Win Total O/U 10.5 (Under -120)
    Best futures bet: NFC Conference champs (+600)

    Los Angeles has a great shot at getting back to the Super Bowl, which just so happens to be played in SoFi Stadium this year. Besides the Bucs (+225), the rest of the Rams’ conference competition have fatal flaws (like the Packers pissing Aaron Rodgers off).

    If you’re feeling feisty and holding on to memories of that monster Monday nighter from 2018, a Chiefs-Rams Big Game battle is paying +2,600. If anything, that flyer might set up a nice hedge opportunity come Championship Sunday.

    Los Angeles Rams betting overview

    What will win bets: Defense

    The Rams’ vaunted defense lost some cogs up front this offseason but will still be among the league’s elite stop units. Los Angeles finished No. 4 in Defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders and caused plenty of chaos with 53 sacks in 2020. The defense allowed only 7.2 points per second half, which sets the table for Stafford’s late-game heroics to come through for bettors.

    What will lose bets: Rushing game

    The offseason injury to RB Cam Akers is a tough blow. Granted, with Stafford under center L.A. won’t be running as much and there’s still plenty of time to bring in another body to share handoffs with Darrell Henderson Jr.

    But with some changes on the offensive line, McVay needs a capable ground game to keep defenses guessing, avoid constant heat on Stafford and give that rocket arm time to load and fire.

    Los Angeles Rams game-by-game odds

    The Rams are point spread favorites in 13 of their 17 games in 2021 (with one pick’em), and despite having the 10th-toughest strength of schedule this year are dealing a season win total of 10.5 O/U. Five of those games as the chalk come on the road, where McVay is 13-10 ATS when giving the points as a visitor.

    Week Opponent Spread Total

    1 vs Chicago -7 44.5

    2 @ Indianapolis +1.5 49.5

    3 vs Tampa Bay -1 49.5

    4 vs Arizona -4.5 49

    5 @ Seattle PK 48

    6 @ N.Y. Giants -3.5 45.5

    7 vs Detroit -12 46

    8 @ Houston -8.5 47

    9 vs Tennessee -5.5 49.5

    10 @ San Francisco +3 45.5

    11 BYE

    12 @ Green Bay -1 45.5

    13 vs Jacksonville -9.5 47

    14 @ Arizona -2.5 48

    15 vs Seattle -4 48

    16 @ Minnesota -2.5 48

    17 @ Baltimore +3 42.5

    18 vs San Francisco -3 44.5

    Early season forecast

    The season starts on Sunday Night Football when the Bears come to town in Week 1. The Rams are touchdown favorites with their sack attack setting sights on either Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, or rookie passer Justin Fields — hence the low total. That 44.5-point number lines up fine for McVay and crew, who are 11-3 SU and 10-4 ATS in games with sub-45 Over/Under totals.

    A trip to Indianapolis is on the Week 2 agenda, pitting Los Angeles’ pass rush against the Colts drum-tight offensive line. The Rams, who are catching 1.5 points as visitors, have only been road underdogs a dozen times since McVay took over in 2017, going 8-4 ATS in those contests.

    Week 3 gives us one of the most anticipated matchups of the entire season and a possible NFC Championship Game preview. Los Angeles is a slight 1-point favorite at home, marking the only game the Bucs are listed as underdogs in 2021. The Rams edged Tampa Bay 27-24 as 4-point road underdogs last year, in one of Tom Brady’s worst games (26/48, 216 yards, 2 TDS, 2 INTs). If you’re betting L.A. in this one, you may also want to grab its NFC title futures as well because this outcome will have a dramatic impact on those odds.

    Spot bet

    Week 6: @ N.Y. Giants -3.5

    A nasty triple-decker sandwich spot awaits the Rams in the Meadowlands in mid-October. Los Angeles is not only ripe for a letdown after a Thursday night showdown in Seattle in Week 5 but could also get caught looking ahead to the Stafford/Goff revenge game versus Detroit in Week 7. On top of those situational spots, this is a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on the East Coast — 10 a.m. PT back in La-La Land.

    Totals tip

    The Rams finished 4-12 Over/Under in the regular season last year and had four sub-45 totals, staying below in each of those games. That said, Goff was the QB and the Rams had the seventh most run-heavy playbook in the league, chewing up 31:39 in average TOP (5th).

    Despite McVay’s offensive prowess and Stafford’s big arm, Los Angeles doesn’t have a single total above 50 points, according to the current 2021 lookahead lines (three totals of 49.5). It does have three totals below 45 points and with Akers’ injury thinning the rushing corp, the defensive line losing some bite, and McVay excited to have a new toy under center, don’t expect another 75 percent run from Rams’ Unders.

    Star power props: Matthew Stafford, QB
    Player prop Odds to win
    MVP +1,700
    Passing leader +1,400
    Passing yards total 4,550.5 (O/U -112)
    Best prop: Under 4,550.5 yards (-112)

    Stafford posted 4,084 yards through the air last year in a Lions offense that passed on 63 percent of its snaps and was often playing from behind, leaving no choice but to toss it.

    McVay has more faith in Stafford than Goff, so expect L.A.’s air yards to stretch, but this is a very good L.A. team that will be protecting leads in the second half. And with a defense that can singlehandedly win games, no longer is the win/loss load all on Stafford’s mighty right arm like it was in Detroit. He’ll have a great year... but not this great.

    Trend to know

    Los Angeles is 16-8 SU and 16-7-1 ATS (69%) versus NFC foes the past two seasons but 3-5 SU and ATS versus the AFC in that same time frame.

    AFC games in 2021

    Week 2: +1.5 at Colts
    Week 8: -8.5 at Texans
    Week 9: -5.5 vs Titans
    Week 13: -9.5 vs Jaguars
    Week 17: +3 at Ravens

    Where can I bet on the NFL?

    You can bet on NFL odds at every online and casino sportsbook, including NFL moneylines, spreads, Over/Under totals, and a ton of NFL prop odds. Head over to our best-suggested sportsbooks for the top spots to bet on NFL odds in your area.

  13. #13
    Seattle Seahawks 2021 NFL Betting Preview: Can the Seahawks Overcome Their Identity Crisis?

    The Seahawks have been among the NFL's most consistent teams, but with tension simmering between Russell Wilson and the team, and question marks on defense, is this the year they slide into mediocrity? Find out in our Seattle season betting preview.

    The Seattle Seahawks have been the gatekeepers of the NFC West for some time now and added another divisional crown last year, finishing with a 12-4 SU record but an 8-8 mark against the spread.

    Seven of those 2020 victories came via a touchdown or less and that drama is something Seahawks bettors are accustomed to, with 16 of the team’s 23 wins over the past two seasons coming by seven or fewer points. Will those thrilling wins turn to heartbreaking losses with the rest of the division getting better?

    Check out our 2021 Seattle Seahawks NFL betting preview.

    Seattle Seahawks futures odds
    Futures Bet Odds
    Super Bowl +3,000
    To Win Conference +1,500
    To Win Division +275
    Season Win Total O/U 9.5 (Over -130)
    Best futures bet: Under 9.5 wins (+110)

    According to bookmakers, the Seahawks are point spread favorites in only nine games this season (with one pick’em on the board) and three of those spreads are at a field goal or less. For all the hype around the infamous “12s” inside Lumen Field, Seattle has been a better road team since Russell Wilson showed up (42-28-1 SU away as of 2012). But the 2021 slate, which ranks T-11th in SOS, has many of the Seahawks’ toughest matchups away from the Emerald City.

    What will win bets: Passing game
    Wanna keep Russ happy? Keep him clean and keep him busy. That’s the plan laid out by new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who will institute more play-action and utilize Wilson’s mobility and mind-blowing accuracy when throwing on the run. Receiver DK Metcalf exploded in Year 2 in the pros and will see even more touches if Pete Carroll can take his damn hands off the wheel.

    What will lose bets: Defense
    Seattle’s stop unit gave up 30.4 points per game in the first eight outings of the season then suddenly slammed the door in the second half of the schedule, allowing a mere 16 points per contest. I’m calling bullshit. Here are the QBs the Seahawks faced in those final eight games: Jared Goff x2, Kyler Murray (injured shoulder), Carson Wentz, Colt McCoy, Sam Darnold, Dwayne Haskins, and C.J. Beathard. Little was done to improve this defensive group this offseason. Seattle backers will curse them. Over bettors should send them a fruit basket.

    Seattle Seahawks game-by-game odds
    It’s wild to think Seattle is a point spread favorite only once in the first six games of the season (with a pick’em in there). Things could snowball quickly if the Seahawks get off to a rough start. They play three of their first four on the road and four of six away from home to start the year. All that Wilson drama from back in the winter could come bubbling to the surface if the losses start stacking up.

    Week Opponent Spread Total

    1 @ Indianapolis +3 52

    2 vs Tennessee -3.5 49.5

    3 @ Minnesota +1.5 48

    4 @ San Francisco +3.5 46.5

    5 vs L.A. Rams PK 48

    6 @ Pittsburgh +2.5 48

    7 vs New Orleans -3 48

    8 vs Jacksonville -7.5 48

    9 BYE

    10 @ Green Bay +3 49.5

    11 vs Arizona -3.5 50.5

    12 @ Washington -2.5 46.5

    13 vs San Francisco -1.5 45.5

    14 @ Houston -7 48.5

    15 @ L.A. Rams +4 48

    16 vs Chicago -5.5 45

    17 vs Detroit -9.5 45

    18 @ Arizona +2 49

    Early season forecast

    The 2021 opener finds Seattle inside the fast track at Lucas Oil Stadium, getting 2.5 points from the Colts in this 1 p.m. ET Week 1 start. This total is a lofty 52 points, and the Seahawks are an incredible 15-2 Over/Under in non-conference road games since Wilson became QB1 in 2012. That said, you have a Seahawks offense working in a new coordinator and Indy breaking in a new QB in Carson Wentz.

    Week 2 is the return of the “12s” to Lumen Field after being locked out during the pandemic-stricken 2020 campaign. Seattle is giving 3.5 points to the visiting Titans and is 16-2 SU (11-7 ATS) at home versus non-conference foes since 2012. Seattle hasn’t lost a home opener in that span, going 9-0 SU and 6-3 ATS.

    A trip to Minnesota awaits the Seahawks in Week 3, where bookies have set them as slight road underdogs. Seattle is a remarkable 17-8-2 ATS as a road dog in Wilson’s tenure as the No. 1 passer but a road trip to San Francisco in Week 4 could set the stage for a lookahead versus the Vikings.

    Spot bet

    Week 8 vs Jacksonville -7.5

    There are a few things that make this a dangerous spot for the Seahawks:

    1. Based on the slog that is the first seven games of the schedule, Seattle could be in bad shape and looking ahead to a much-needed bye in Week 9.

    2. The Jags have plenty of inside intel on their Week 8 foes, with four former Seattle assistants on Urban Meyer’s staff, including former offensive coordinators Darrell Bevell and Brian Schottenheimer.

    3. The Seahawks are on a short week and a possible letdown spot after a Monday Night Football shootout with the Saints in Week 7.

    4. That half-point hook on the touchdown spread could just be enough to burn Seattle bettors. And we’re well aware of how the Seahawks love them some one-score games.

    Totals tip

    The identity crisis that was the Seahawks’ 2020 season manifested itself into some wild swings in Over/Under results. Seattle went 6-2 O/U in the first half of the calendar and 1-7 O/U in the back half of the schedule.

    Books are bracing for a pile of points, with a couple of 50-plus numbers showing up in the lookahead totals and three others at 49 or 49.5. If the playbook goes pass-heavy like Wilson wants and the defense stinks as bad as I think it will, those numbers will be on the rise.

    Star power props: DK Metcalf, WR
    Player prop Odds to win
    MVP +12,500
    Receiving leader +1,100
    Receiving yards total 1,350.5 (Over -130)
    Best prop: Over 1,350.5 receiving yards (-130)

    Metcalf mashed his way to 1,303 receiving yards in 2020 but when the Seahawks’ offense had the power pulled, so did DK’s big-play production. He was on pace for over 1,500 yards in the first eight games (788 total yards on 43 catches) but mustered just 515 yards despite catching only three fewer balls in the second half of the season.

    With Waldron looking to push the tempo with the pass game – a hard break from Carroll’s run-heavy philosophies – Metcalf will see an uptick in targets. Even with teams throwing extra bodies at him, the 6-foot-4 freak of nature will eclipse this modest player prop.

    Trend to know

    The Seahawks are 8-2 ATS as divisional road underdogs since 2012 and catch points at L.A., San Francisco and Arizona this season.

    Divisional road games

    Week 4 @ San Francisco +3.5
    Week 15 @ L.A. Rams +4
    Week 18 @ Arizona +2

    Where can I bet on the NFL?

    You can bet on NFL odds at every online and casino sportsbook, including NFL moneylines, spreads, Over/Under totals, and a ton of NFL prop odds. Head over to our best-suggested sportsbooks for the top spots to bet on NFL odds in your area.

  14. #14
    Las Vegas Raiders 2021 NFL Betting Preview: Vegas Is Bullish On It's Hometown Team

    Derek Carr and Las Vegas have the weapons to again be a lethal passing attack. But with a weak defense and a likely bigger emphasis on the run game, is that aerial attack — and the Raiders overall — something you should be betting on to succeed?

    The Las Vegas Raiders get a second chance at a first impression in 2021 after watching the pandemic dull the excitement of their first season in Sin City. With fans in the stands, you can be sure the bulk of those butts are betting on games, so get ready for some random roars when a particular prop hits.

    Cirque du Soleil isn’t the only high-flying show in town, with Vegas possessing one of the top passing games in the NFL. But can the defense do enough for Raiders Nation to cash in?

    Here’s our 2021 Las Vegas NFL betting preview.

    Las Vegas Raiders futures odds
    Futures Bet Odds
    Super Bowl +6,000
    To Win Conference +3,000
    To Win Division +1,600
    To Make Playoffs Yes +330/No -400
    Season Win Total O/U 7.5 (Under -130)
    Best futures bet: Over 7.5 wins (+110)

    Scouring the schedule, you can squeeze eight wins out of the Raiders, who finished 8-8 SU in a COVID-stricken 16-game 2020 season. While they play back-to-back home games just once (Week 10 and Week 11) they only travel to the East Coast for 1 p.m. ET starts twice (Steelers and Giants) and have just two other 1 p.m. kickoffs (Kansas City and Indianapolis) on the slate.

    With the Chargers in a major coaching transition and the Broncos’ QB questions stacking up, the window is open for Jon Gruden’s group to slide up in the AFC West. The Raiders picked up a win in Arrowhead and lost to the Chiefs by four points at home last year, proving they can trade punches with the two-time conference champs. “Vegas” may not have faith in Vegas — but I do.

    What will win bets: Offense

    Derek Carr takes a lot of shit, but just look at the numbers he and this offense put up. Carr finished 10th in passer rating in 2020 with 4,103 yards and 27 touchdown passes, to only nine interceptions, in a playbook that threw less than 56 percent of the time... but still scored over 27 points per game.

    The receiving corps is loaded with talent, including second-year WR Henry Ruggs III, burner John Brown, Hunter Renfrow, and breakout TE Darren Waller. Complementing that air attack is running backs Josh Jacobs and underrated pickup Kenyan Drake. The offensive line is a big project after a mass exile of starters but this blocking unit played through the plague last year, plugging in new bodies almost every week.

    What will lose bets: Defense

    Bringing in Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator is a good start, but Las Vegas has a long way to go with this stop unit. The Raiders ranked 28th in Defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders in 2020 and allowed nearly 30 points per game.

    Bradley’s schemes protect against home run plays, but don’t cause much chaos up front and are going to take some time to meld. Gruden may feel like he has to protect this unit by grinding out the ground game and dominating possession, which takes touches away from the Raiders’ real strength (passing). It’s a vicious cycle.

    Las Vegas Raiders game-by-game odds
    Bookies aren’t buying into the Silver and Black in 2021, with Las Vegas a point spread favorite in only six of 17 games this year, with a pick’em in place for Week 3 versus Miami. The Raiders were handed the seventh toughest schedule, according to SOS, and close out the year with five foes all with win total projections of nine games or more (three of those matchups coming on the road).

    Home-field advantage is always a tough nut to quantify (is it really worth three points to the spread?) and may not exist in Vegas, with opposing fans more than happy to travel to Sin City for some fun and football. Will the “Vegas flu” balance this out? We’ve seen road teams struggle against the NHL’s Golden Knights at times, possibly succumbing to the delectable distractions of Vegas.

    Week Opponent Spread Total

    1 vs Baltimore +4 51

    2 @ Pittsburgh +5.5 49

    3 vs Miami PK 46.5

    4 @ L.A. Chargers +4 49.5

    5 vs Chicago -3.5 46.5

    6 @ Denver +3.5 47

    7 vs Philadelphia -3.5 48.5

    8 BYE

    9 @ N.Y. Giants +1.5 47.5

    10 vs Kansas City +7.5 53.5

    11 vs Cincinnati -4.5 50

    12 @ Dallas +5.5 53

    13 vs Washington -2.5 47.5

    14 @ Kansas City +10.5 53

    15 @ Cleveland +6.5 50

    16 vs Denver -2.5 47

    17 @ Indianapolis +6 49.5

    18 vs L.A. Chargers -1.5 48.5

    Early season forecast

    A retooled offensive line and a new defensive coordinator will be tested hard in the opening games of 2021, with Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Miami on deck: three teams with solid defenses and capable offensive attacks.

    The Death Star will be rocking for a Monday Night Football opener in Week 1, giving the Raiders the Vegas debut they deserve. This line opened Raiders +6.5 but has trimmed considerably since going up in the spring, now sitting at +4. Las Vegas was a solid bet when getting four or more points in 2020, finishing 3-1 ATS in those contests.

    The AFC North tour continues when Vegas crosses the country to play the Steelers in Week 2 for a 1 p.m. ET start. Those early kickoffs were a thorn in the side of this franchise when it was in Oakland, going 1-7 ATS in 1 p.m. starts between 2017 and 2019. However, last year the Vegas Raiders were 3-3 ATS in those situations and are currently catching +5.5 in Pittsburgh. Depending on how Week 1 rolls out, this line could climb to +6 or higher, so wait it out if you like the visitor.

    Miami makes its way West in this battle of the two best party cities in the U.S. (sorry Nashville). The Dolphins edged the Raiders 26-25 with a last-second field goal in Week 16 of last year, but Vegas covered as a 2-point home dog. The 46.5-point total is tied as the lowest Over/Under on the 2021 board for Las Vegas, which didn’t face a number this low in 2020. However, the Oakland Raiders went 15-11-1 O/U against sub-47 totals between 2014 and 2019 (since Carr was QB1).

    Spot bet

    Week 11 @ N.Y. Giants +1.5

    We’ve already mentioned the franchise’s follies when it comes to 1 p.m. ET kickoffs (4-10 ATS since 2017) and the Raiders face another early cross-country kickoff in Week 11, traveling to the Meadowlands in November (pretty much the exact opposite of Las Vegas).

    This game comes on the heels of a bye week, which isn’t great for Gruden who is 0-3 ATS following a bye in his second go-around with the Raiders. Piling on to this situational sandwich is a massive lookahead spot with rivals Kansas City coming to town for a Sunday nighter in Week 12.

    Totals tip

    Las Vegas was the top Over bet in the NFL in 2020, posting a 12-3-1 O/U count thanks to a 10th-ranked scoring offense and piss-poor defense. Things will likely stay the same for the Raiders, as the makeup of the 2021 squad is similar.

    That said, bookies are padding the numbers for Vegas’ totals. There are only two totals of sub-47 on the board and five of 50-plus, according to the current lookahead lines. The Silver and Black were 8-2-1 O/U against totals of 50 or more last season.

    It may not be so cut and dry when capping the Raiders totals in 2021. The offense could stall because of the o-line shakeup and the defense under Bradley should improve (can’t get much worse), which could trickle down in varying Over/Under results.

    Star power props: Derek Carr, QB
    Player prop Odds to win
    MVP +6,000
    Passing leader +2,800
    Passing Yards total 4,075.5 (Over -115)
    Passing TD Total 25.5 (Under -130)
    Best prop: Under 4,075 yards passing (-115)

    This prop total is calling for a slight decline in Carr’s production after he posted 4,103 yards passing in 2020. But playing the Under is by no means a knock on Carr, who has pretty much been at this number the past three seasons.

    The reason I lean Under here is that the running game could see substantial work if the defense needs protection — and it will early on. With a two-headed beast of Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake, Las Vegas can hold on to the football and minimize the exposure of the stop unit. Obviously, that takes the football out of Carr’s hands.

    Trend to know

    In their first year in Sin City, the Raiders went 5-0-1 Over/Under in games pegged as home underdogs, and since 2014 — when Carr came aboard — this franchise is 20-11-1 O/U when set as a home pup (64.5 percent Overs). Las Vegas is getting the points in two home games in 2021.

    Raiders totals as home underdogs

    Week 1: vs. Ravens 51
    Week 10:vs. Kansas City 53.5

  15. #15
    Kansas City Chiefs 2021 NFL Betting Preview: Back and Better Than Before

    Kansas City has been to back-to-back Super Bowls but will enter the 2021 season with a chip after its Big Game loss in February. What can slow down these Chiefs — if anything? Check out our betting preview for the Kansas City Chiefs.

    What’s more motivating than defending a Super Bowl title? How about avenging a Super Bowl loss? The Kansas City Chiefs suffered only three defeats in 2020, unfortunately, one of those Ls was served up by Tampa Bay on Super Sunday.

    We’ve seen Big Game losers go bust in the following season, but Kansas City has plenty of Pedialyte and greasy breakfasts – in the form of elite talent and top-notch coaching – to avoid the Super Bowl hangover. That’s evidenced by the mountain of points KC is dishing out to foes almost every week.

    Here’s our 2021 Kansas City Chiefs NFL betting preview.

    Kansas City Chiefs futures odds

    Futures Bet Odds
    Super Bowl +500
    To Win Conference +250
    To Win Division -250
    To Make Playoffs Yes -900 / No +600
    Season Win Total O/U 12.5 (Over -110)
    Best futures bet: Win AFC Championship +250

    A third straight AFC title in is the work for Kansas City. Outside of the Bills and Ravens, no one really comes close to the Chiefs in the conference and all the other serious Super Bowl contenders are in the NFC. On top of that, the road to the Super Bowl likely goes through Arrowhead in late January.

    If you’re looking for a little more bang for your futures buck, look to the Super Bowl matchups odds. I’m high on Kansas City and the L.A. Rams, which would pay +2,600 if they clashed inside SoFi Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday.

    What will win bets: Offense

    The reason why the Chiefs are massive chalk in most games is also your best shot of covering those piles of points. It’s madness to think Patrick Mahomes is only entering Year 4 as the starter and Canton is already getting his measurements for a gold jacket.

    Around Mahomes is an embarrassing amount of game-breaking talent, including sophomore Swiss Army Knife Clyde Edwards-Helaire. And the one glaring weakness from 2020 – the offensive line – has been retooled and is now projected to be one of the best in the league.

    What will lose bets: Complacency

    After two straight Super Bowl appearances, the regular season is starting to feel like a formality to the Chiefs, who are the biggest division favorites in the AFC. We’ve seen this group go on extended cold streaks for bettors, most notably at the end of the year when spreads inflate to match the public appeal and the mind starts to drift to the postseason. Kansas City is 7-12-2 ATS from Week 10 onward over the past three campaigns, including a 1-7 ATS mark to close out 2020. As good as KC is, there’s a tipping point with those lofty spreads.

    Kansas City Chiefs game-by-game odds
    The Chiefs are point spread favorites in 15 of 17 games right now, with a pick’em at Baltimore in Week 2 and the Week 9 showdown with the Packers off the board (it’s likely KC will be slight chalk in that one). Their 2021 slate ranks T-11 in terms of strength of schedule.

    Kansas City faces an average spread of -6.75 and if you drop the -3 at Denver in Week 18 (obviously padding against the Chiefs resting starters ahead of the playoffs), that average climbs to a cool touchdown. But as good as the Chiefs are, they’re just 9-12-1 ATS as favorites of a TD or more – something that occurs nine times in 2021.

    Week Opponent Spread Total

    1 vs Cleveland -6.5 53.5

    2 @ Baltimore PK 51.5

    3 vs L.A. Chargers -7.5 52.5

    4 @ Philadelphia -8 50.5

    5 vs Buffalo -4.5 54.5

    6 @ Washington -6.5 50.5

    7 @ Tennessee -4.5 54.5

    8 vs N.Y. Giants -10 49

    9 vs Green Bay OTB OTB

    10 @ Las Vegas -7.5 53.5

    11 vs Dallas -7.5 55

    12 BYE

    13 vs Denver -9.5 50

    14 vs Las Vegas -10.5 53

    15 @ L.A. Chargers -6.5 52

    16 vs Pittsburgh -8.5 50

    17 @ Cincinnati -7.5 49.5

    18 @ Denver -3 45.5

    Early season forecast

    The Chiefs have three solid matchups right out of the gate, which should help tell us if Mahomes & Co. are on a revenge tour or still stinging from that Super Bowl spanking.

    Week 1 is a rewind of the AFC Divisional Round, hosting the Browns as 6.5-point favorites after this spread jumped as much as a full point from -5.5. Cleveland lost 22-17 to Kansas City last January, after clawing back from a 19-3 hole, to the dismay of Chiefs bettors who laid 7.5 points. The Chiefs have won and covered in four straight home openers going back to 2017 but Super Bowl losers are just 9-12 SU and 5-16 ATS in Week 1 of the following season. Hmmmmm...

    One of the most anticipated games of the entire 2021 schedule holds court in Week 2 when Kansas City visits Baltimore. The Chiefs went into M&T Bank Stadium and dished out a 34-20 ransack of the Ravens last September as 3.5-point road underdogs. This line is calling for a close contest, currently sitting pick’em, which could make KC backers nervous if it moves toward the visitors. The Chiefs were 9-0 SU but just 1-8 ATS in one-score games last year.

    The Chiefs kickoff divisional play back home versus the L.A. Chargers in Week 3, giving the touchdown with a nasty half-point hook in a potential letdown spot after that clash with Baltimore. The Bolts are always live road dogs and Kansas City is 4-2 SU but just 2-3-1 ATS versus Los Angeles since Mahomes got the starting job.

    Spot bet

    Week 13: vs Denver (-9.5)

    Betting Andy Reid off the bye week has lost a little steam but this process still holds a 19-3 SU record and 14-8 ATS count since Reid took over the head coaching role in Philadelphia back in 1999. The Chiefs have a bye in Week 12 which has Andy backers laying the lumber against the Broncos in Week 13. Books have KC pegged as 9.5-point home chalk to Denver for this 1 p.m. ET start. This game is part of a four-week span that sees the Chiefs stay in Arrowhead for three straight games.

    Totals tip

    The 2021 lookahead lines see 13 of the Chiefs’ games with totals of 50 points or more (likely 14 when that Green Bay line comes back out). The highest among them is a 55-point peak versus Dallas in Week 11 – currently the tallest Over/Under for the entire 2021 season.

    Kansas City went 8-8 O/U in 2020 and is 30-25-1 O/U since 2018. You would think with all those big spreads, a Chiefs-Over same-game parlay would be a popular pick. And if you fell into that most public of public plays, you’d be doing your bookie a favor. Kansas City is 4-9 Over/Under when pegged as a double-digit favorite while going 5-7-1 ATS in those outings since 2018.

    Star power props: Patrick Mahomes QB

    Player prop Odds to win
    MVP +450
    Passing leader +275
    Passing yards total 5,100.5 yards (Over -120)
    Passing TD total 39.5 (Under -130)
    Best prop: Over 39.5 passing TDs (Over -110)

    Besides the ample home run hitters at Mahomes’ disposal, the most vital part to this prop going Over is the new offensive line. Last season, Mahomes was hurried 64 times (sixth-most), sacked 22 times, and was forced to scramble on 40 snaps designed as a pass (also sixth). He finished the season with 38 touchdown passes in 15 games. This is Andy Reid’s offense so the pass attempts are coming and Mahomes should have plenty of time and clean air to find those playmakers downfield.

    Trend to know

    We called out the Chiefs for slowing down in the back end of the schedule, however, this team does get off to strong starts each season. Kansas City is 12-2 ATS in its last 14 games in September, making the most of those spreads before the public pumps them up later on.

    September games

    Week 1: vs. Cleveland -6.5
    Week 2: @ Baltimore PK
    Week 3: vs. L.A. Chargers -7.5

  16. #16
    Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Betting Preview: Books Love the Broncos D, but Will the Offense Hold Them Back?

    The Denver Broncos are healthy and should have a lethal defense once again. But with the QB position still a question mark, is this a team you can bet on — especially considering Denver is currently favored in nine games this year?

    As the old saying goes, “If you have two quarterbacks, then you don’t have any.” While the rest of the AFC West are locked into their starting QBs, the Denver Broncos are on the fence between young Drew Lock and veteran ATS ATM Teddy Bridgewater.

    Broncos bettors may be hoping for Teddy B, who’s an incredible 36-14 ATS all-time as a starter, but Denver needs more than Bridgewater to bring home the bacon. All eyes are on Vic Fangio’s defense, which should return to its spot among the league’s elite stop units.

    Check out our 2021 Denver Broncos NFL betting preview.

    Denver Broncos futures odds

    Futures Bet Odds
    Super Bowl +3,000
    To Win Conference +1,500
    To Win Division +700
    To Make Playoffs Yes +145/No -165
    Season Win Total O/U 9 (Under -120)
    Best futures bet: No playoffs (-165)

    Denver has had trouble versus the AFC West (see below) and while its schedule ranks 24th in terms of SOS, there aren’t many layups on the calendar. The Broncos play on the East Coast three times in the first five weeks and close the year with five of their final seven contest against divisional rivals — a stretch that will make or break those playoff hopes.

    The 2021 season win totals say the Broncos are playing for third in the AFC West (KC 12.5, L.A. 9.5) and will be in a dog fight for the seventh and final ticket to the tournament with the likes of Tennessee, Miami, New England, and Pittsburgh.

    What will win bets: Pass Defense

    Injuries ripped Denver’s defense apart at the seams in 2020. The pass rush was inconsistent, but still posted 42 sacks, and there was no danger element to this unit, recording a mere 16 takeaways. Despite that, the Broncos still finished 13th in Defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders (albeit 25th against the run).

    Pass rushers Bradley Chubb and Von Miller are nightmare material for opposing QBs — when healthy — and the secondary improved greatly by drafting Patrick Surtain II and signing Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller.

    What will lose bets: Quarterbacks

    Broncos fans were holding out hope that Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson would climb the mountain in 2021. For now, they’re left with Lock and Bridgewater. Those aren’t horrible options, but they aren’t covering the spread on their own — despite what Bridgewater’s insane ATS record says.

    Lock is as raw as Eddie Murphy in a purple leather suit and could reel it in during Year 2 under Pat Shurmur but was ranked 31st out of 34 NFL QBs by The Athletic due to his wild inconsistency. As for Bridgewater, he’s the example of consistent: consistently adequate. He’s banking on the Broncos defense to win games and avoiding any pressure on his aging frame to make big plays.

    Denver Broncos game-by-game odds

    Denver is giving the points in nine of its 17 games in 2021, including being pegged as the chalk in three straight outings to start the season — twice as a road favorite. That’s a wild swing for Vic Fangio’s squad, which closed as an underdog in every game in 2020 (9-7 ATS).

    The Broncos’ schedule is backloaded with AFC West rivals, playing five of their six divisional games after the Week 11 bye. Under Fangio, Denver is just 4-8 SU and 5-7 ATS versus AFC West rivals, including a 1-5 SU count and 2-4 ATS in road divisional dances.

    Week Opponent Spread Total

    1 @ N.Y. Giants -1 42.5

    2 @ Jacksonville -1.5 43.5

    3 vs N.Y. Jets -5.5 42.5

    4 vs Baltimore +3.5 45

    5 @ Pittsburgh +4.5 45

    6 vs Las Vegas -3.5 47

    7 @ Cleveland +7 44.5

    8 vs Washington -3 43

    9 @ Dallas +4.5 47

    10 vs Philadelphia -5.5 45.5

    11 BYE

    12 vs L.A. Chargers -2.5 45.5

    13 @ Kansas City +9.5 50

    14 vs Detroit -7.5 43.5

    15 vs Cincinnati -5.5 45

    16 @ Las Vegas +2.5 47

    17 @ L.A. Chargers +3 45

    18 vs Kansas City +3 45.5

    Early season forecast

    The Broncos stop unit feasts on some weaker quarterbacks in the opening three weeks of 2021, which sets them up for a strong start despite playing back-to-back roadies out East to kick off the campaign.

    The season opens in the Meadowlands against the Giants, with Denver dealing one point to the host side for a 4:25 p.m. ET start. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur should have some inside intel on the G-Men, given he was their OC for two seasons before coming to Denver. This line opened New York -1 but with the Rodgers rumors bubbling up this summer, early bettors tried to get out ahead of a potential blockbuster deal and action on the Broncos swung the spread over the fence.

    Denver stays coastal for a Week 2 venture down to Jacksonville, laying another slim spread as road chalk. The Broncos defense gets its first taste of No. 1-overall pick Trevor Lawrence in this 1 p.m. ET start. In two years under Fangio, this team is 7-3 ATS in non-divisional road games (4-6 SU) but was never the favorite in those away contests.

    One of my favorite long-term trends with teeth is back on the board in Week 3 for the Broncos’ first home game. Denver is a desirable 18-3 SU and 13-4-4 ATS in home openers since 2000. The narrative is there: opponents aren’t quite in game shape this early into the season and must go up to Mile High and play in the energy-sapping thin air. The Jets are catching 5.5 points in this tough spot, coming off matchups with Buffalo and Tampa Bay — and likely starting a rookie QB in Zach Wilson.

    Spot bet

    Week 7 @ Cleveland +7

    That Week 3 home opener is one hell of a spot for Broncos backers. But when it comes to possible play-against situational capping, circle the Thursday Night Football date in Cleveland in Week 7. This will be Denver’s fourth road trip in the first seven weeks and is played on a short turnaround. In contrast, this meeting is the middle of three straight home stands for the Browns.

    Totals tip

    Denver wrapped 2020 with an even 8-8 Over/Under clip but sided with the Under in five of its final eight games. The 2021 totals are calling for plenty of low-scoring finishes, as outside of a 50-point number at Kansas City in Week 13, the remainder of the Broncos’ O/U totals are at 47 points or less with bookies giving this defense its due.

    Vic Fangio’s stop unit has done right by Under backers against AFC West opponents, posting a 4-8 Over/Under record in divisional contests since 2019. This trend isn’t only reserved to this current coaching staff either, as Denver is 13-21-2 O/U in divisional contests since 2015 — a 62 percent Under payday.

    Star power props: Jerry Jeudy, WR
    Player prop Odds to win
    Receiving Yards Leader +6,600
    Receiving Yards Total 920.5 (Over -115)
    Receptions Total 68.5 (Over -115)
    Receiving TD Total 4.5 (Over -150)
    Best prop: Under 68.5 receptions (-115)

    Jeudy had a solid rookie campaign, considering the quality of company throwing him the football. He snagged 52 balls on 113 targets but also got dinged for 12 drops — second-most in the NFL.

    He instantly became Denver’s top target when Courtland Sutton went down with an ACL tear in Week 2. Sutton is back for 2021 and was a beast in 2019 (72 receptions/1,112 yards), which will take away plenty of Jeudy’s touches. Mix in a possible game of musical chairs at QB and a lack of chemistry and timing could plague this passing game.

    Trend to know

    As mentioned, the Broncos haven’t been pegged as favorites much since Fangio took over in 2019. In fact, Denver is 2-3 ATS as the chalk in that span. Expectations are higher in 2021, as books have the Broncos giving points in nine games.

    That could be an issue.

    Denver has had a devil of a time covering as a fave for a while now, boasting a 16-25-3 ATS record (39%) in those spots since 2015. Even in a place like Empower Field at Mile High, with its built-in home-field advantage of thin air and cold weather, the Broncos are just 8-15-3 ATS (35%) as home favorites over the past six seasons.

    Denver is laying points in seven home stands this year.

    Games with Broncos as home favorites in 2021

    Week 3: -3.5 vs. Jets
    Week 6: -3.5 vs. Raiders
    Week 8: -3 vs. Washington
    Week 10: -5.5 vs. Eagles
    Week 12: -2.5 vs. Chargers
    Week 14: -7.5 vs. Lions
    Week 15: -5.5 vs. Bengals

  17. #17
    Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Betting Preview: Books Love the Broncos D, but Will the Offense Hold Them Back?

    The Denver Broncos are healthy and should have a lethal defense once again. But with the QB position still a question mark, is this a team you can bet on — especially considering Denver is currently favored in nine games this year?

    As the old saying goes, “If you have two quarterbacks, then you don’t have any.” While the rest of the AFC West are locked into their starting QBs, the Denver Broncos are on the fence between young Drew Lock and veteran ATS ATM Teddy Bridgewater.

    Broncos bettors may be hoping for Teddy B, who’s an incredible 36-14 ATS all-time as a starter, but Denver needs more than Bridgewater to bring home the bacon. All eyes are on Vic Fangio’s defense, which should return to its spot among the league’s elite stop units.

    Check out our 2021 Denver Broncos NFL betting preview.

    Denver Broncos futures odds

    Futures Bet Odds
    Super Bowl +3,000
    To Win Conference +1,500
    To Win Division +700
    To Make Playoffs Yes +145/No -165
    Season Win Total O/U 9 (Under -120)
    Best futures bet: No playoffs (-165)

    Denver has had trouble versus the AFC West (see below) and while its schedule ranks 24th in terms of SOS, there aren’t many layups on the calendar. The Broncos play on the East Coast three times in the first five weeks and close the year with five of their final seven contest against divisional rivals — a stretch that will make or break those playoff hopes.

    The 2021 season win totals say the Broncos are playing for third in the AFC West (KC 12.5, L.A. 9.5) and will be in a dog fight for the seventh and final ticket to the tournament with the likes of Tennessee, Miami, New England, and Pittsburgh.

    What will win bets: Pass Defense

    Injuries ripped Denver’s defense apart at the seams in 2020. The pass rush was inconsistent, but still posted 42 sacks, and there was no danger element to this unit, recording a mere 16 takeaways. Despite that, the Broncos still finished 13th in Defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders (albeit 25th against the run).

    Pass rushers Bradley Chubb and Von Miller are nightmare material for opposing QBs — when healthy — and the secondary improved greatly by drafting Patrick Surtain II and signing Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller.

    What will lose bets: Quarterbacks

    Broncos fans were holding out hope that Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson would climb the mountain in 2021. For now, they’re left with Lock and Bridgewater. Those aren’t horrible options, but they aren’t covering the spread on their own — despite what Bridgewater’s insane ATS record says.

    Lock is as raw as Eddie Murphy in a purple leather suit and could reel it in during Year 2 under Pat Shurmur but was ranked 31st out of 34 NFL QBs by The Athletic due to his wild inconsistency. As for Bridgewater, he’s the example of consistent: consistently adequate. He’s banking on the Broncos defense to win games and avoiding any pressure on his aging frame to make big plays.

    Denver Broncos game-by-game odds

    Denver is giving the points in nine of its 17 games in 2021, including being pegged as the chalk in three straight outings to start the season — twice as a road favorite. That’s a wild swing for Vic Fangio’s squad, which closed as an underdog in every game in 2020 (9-7 ATS).

    The Broncos’ schedule is backloaded with AFC West rivals, playing five of their six divisional games after the Week 11 bye. Under Fangio, Denver is just 4-8 SU and 5-7 ATS versus AFC West rivals, including a 1-5 SU count and 2-4 ATS in road divisional dances.

    Week Opponent Spread Total

    1 @ N.Y. Giants -1 42.5

    2 @ Jacksonville -1.5 43.5

    3 vs N.Y. Jets -5.5 42.5

    4 vs Baltimore +3.5 45

    5 @ Pittsburgh +4.5 45

    6 vs Las Vegas -3.5 47

    7 @ Cleveland +7 44.5

    8 vs Washington -3 43

    9 @ Dallas +4.5 47

    10 vs Philadelphia -5.5 45.5

    11 BYE

    12 vs L.A. Chargers -2.5 45.5

    13 @ Kansas City +9.5 50

    14 vs Detroit -7.5 43.5

    15 vs Cincinnati -5.5 45

    16 @ Las Vegas +2.5 47

    17 @ L.A. Chargers +3 45

    18 vs Kansas City +3 45.5

    Early season forecast

    I’m predicting a pricky start to the season for Los Angeles, based on its competition and time needed to adapt to the overhaul in both offensive and defensive playbooks.

    Week 1 will be a test for Lombardi and Herbert, crossing the country for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff (10 a.m. PT) in DC. The Football Team is a disruptive defense that ranked third in Defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders and created all kinds of chaos with 23 takeaways and 47 sacks in 2020. This game opened a pick’em but early play on L.A. has the Chargers as high as -1.5. The Bolts are 6-1-2 ATS in their last nine season openers going back to their time in San Diego.

    The home opener should be one of the more entertaining games in Week 2 — if this 52-point total has any say — with the Cowboys coming to town. This will be the Chargers’ second straight non-conference game to start 2021. Los Angeles is 10-6 ATS versus NFC foes the past four years but just 4-4 ATS at home in those non-con contests.

    The real season begins for the Bolts in Week 3, venturing to Arrowhead to play the Chiefs. Bookies are spotting the Chargers 7.5 points in Kansas City — a role Bolts bettors love. Since moving to L.A., this team is 11-5-3 ATS as a road underdog in the regular season. What’s more: Going back to 2000, this franchise is 21-11-7 ATS as a road dog visiting a divisional opponent (3-1-2 ATS since moving to L.A. 2017).

    Spot bet

    Week 8 vs New England -2.5

    I’m not a big believer in revenge spots when it comes to pro sports, but the Bolts have a bone to pick with the Patriots after eating a 45-0 shit sandwich at home in Week 13 of last year. Not only is Herbert looking to redeem himself (26/53, 209 yards, 2 INT) but this matchup comes after the Chargers’ bye in Week 7. That’s two weeks to fine-tune those new playbooks and stew on last year’s ass waxing. I love the home side under the field goal.

    Totals tip

    The Chargers finished with a 9-7 Over/Under count in 2020 but was a noticeable 6-2 O/U in the role of visitor. Los Angeles scored more than four points extra per road game, which was enough to top the total on most road trips.

    While both units are under new coordinators and undergoing massive changes, the defense could have the leg up on the offense — especially with Staley’s defensive chops coming over from the Rams and a healthy Derwin James at safety. The scoring attack could stall as Herbert & Co. adjust and the Bolts have some of their higher totals of the year at the front of the schedule. That opens up Under value for games in September and October.

    Star power props: Justin Herbert, QB
    Player prop Odds to win
    MVP +2,000
    Passing leader +1,000
    Passing yards total 4,675 (Under -140)
    Best prop: Under 4,675.5 yards passing (-140)

    In 15 games last season, Herbert let if fly for 4,336 yards. Had he started in Week 1 instead of Tyrod Taylor, the then-rookie might have sniffed this passing yards total for 2021. Herbert’s first year was record-setting, which puts the bar high for his sophomore effort. But opponents now have a full season worth of tape on the youngster and he’s got to learn a brand new system: a system originally orchestrated for an all-time great. We’ve seen other standout QBs regress in their second year in the pros — and the same fate awaits Herbert.

    Trend to know

    We mentioned the L.A. Chargers’ resolve as road underdogs, going 11-5-3 ATS in regular season games when getting the points away from home. The Bolts are also 5-2-2 ATS when getting a field goal or less on the road. Currently, two games fall into that category but more of those short lines could swing over the fence if L.A. gets off to a rough start.

    Road games between +3 and +1

    Week 12: @ Broncos +2.5
    Week 18: @ Raiders +1.5

  18. #18
    The Must-Bet NFL Games of the 2021 Season

    It's never too soon to start thinking about NFL betting. Jason Logan runs through each week of the 2021 schedule, giving his best angles and edges for the must-bet games of the NFL season.

    It’s the beginning of summer, so naturally, savvy sports bettors are starting to think about the fall and beyond. And that means betting on the NFL.

    The 2021 NFL schedule dropped back in May and many sportsbooks followed suit with spreads and Over/Under totals for every single game on the slate, from Week 1 to the shiny new Week 18.

    I’m combing through those matchups and calling out the must-bet NFL games for each week on the calendar. Some of those are big-time games between Super Bowl contenders and other contests present some unique NFL betting edges that take advantage of the lookahead lines.

    The new campaign kicks off on September 9, so with no time to spare, here are my must-bet NFL games for 2021, as well as each week’s honorable mention.

    Week 1
    Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (-2.5, 50.5)

    As of this minute, Aaron Rodgers is still the Packers' starting quarterback, but all signs this summer point to him either opting out of the season or forcing Green Bay to deal him elsewhere. And because of that uncertainty, this spread has moved from Saints -1.5 to -2.5. But what about the total?

    The Over/Under is sitting at 50.5 points despite the Saints wishing Drew Brees all the best in retirement and the Packers possibly left with a QB making his first NFL start on the road in Week 1 or… Blake Bortles. I don’t like tying up money for long periods but I’ve already bet the Under in this opener, banking on it being a messy game.

    Honorable mention

    Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6.5, 52)

    Being that this is season opener on Thursday night, and it not only includes my Cowboys but the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, we can’t ignore our first taste of real NFL betting action since Brady & Co. partied with Lombardi.

    And, of course, we love the Week 1 trend around reigning Super Bowl champs, who are 14-6-1 ATS in their season opener since 2000. That’s a 70 percent winner right there. If you’re buying into that trend as well as Brady and the Bucs, you might want to bet this now since it’s below the touchdown.

    Week 2
    Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens (Pick, 51.5)

    You know it’s going to be a hell of a game when the spread is sitting pick’em. Depending on where you bet, this Sunday Night Football showdown is being dealt between -110 flat and Kansas City -1.

    This primetime matchup will hold a ton of parlay liability for bookies and the knee-jerk reactions from Week 1 could swing this spread, depending on how K.C. and Baltimore do in their openers. The Chiefs thumped the Ravens 34-20 in Week 3 of last year, shutting down Lamar Jackson to just 180 total yards of offense.

    Honorable mention

    Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5, 49.5)

    With Julio in tow, the Titans come to Seattle in Week 2 where the infamous 12th Man will make its return to Lumen Field after going dark due to COVID-19 last season. The Seahawks are not only 16-2 SU (11-7 ATS) at home versus non-conference opponents since Russell Wilson took over under center, but Seattle has never lost a home opener in that span, going 9-0 SU and 6-3 ATS since 2012.

    Week 3
    New York Jets at Denver Broncos (-5.5, 42.5)

    And speaking of holding your own in home openers, the Broncos are one of the best long-term bets in those spots, going back to 2000. Denver is 18-3 SU and 13-4-4 ATS in those previous 21 home openers. I love this trend because it has a narrative that makes sense: teams aren’t in full game shape this early into the season and must climb the mountain to play the Broncos in the thin air of Mile High.

    This year’s unlucky contestant is the New York Jets, who have one of the toughest opening slates with the Bills and Bucs ahead of this trip to Denver. The Jets not only have a rookie head coach in Robert Salah but could have a rookie QB in Zach Wilson going up against Vic Fangio’s vaunted defense in Week 3. New York will likely be 0-2 coming into this game, so you may want to buy the Broncos now under the key number of -6. Oh, and maybe Aaron Rodgers shows up. Who knows?

    Honorable mention

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams (-1, 49.5)

    Interesting game. Interesting spread. Interesting trend. Depending on how Matt Stafford fits into Sean McVay’s system, this could be an NFC title game preview. It’s also one of the rare spots on the schedule in which the Bucs are catching the points. On top of all that, defending Super Bowl winners are just 13-23 ATS (20-16 SU) in their first road game of the season since 1985. That’s a lot to digest ahead of this September 26 contest.

    Week 4
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots (+3.5, 49)

    This is like watching your ex enter the bar, and who’s that on their arm? Oh, it’s Vince Lombardi. Bill Belichick may have the emotional range of a tire iron but deep down inside that craggy ice cave of a heart, you know he’s a little hurt after watching Tom Brady win the Big Game with the Bucs.

    Brady vs. Belichick will put butts in the seats but betting the Under will put dollars in your wallet on Sunday night. Tampa Bay boasts a championship-caliber defense and the Pats get back plenty of key members of the stop unit who opted to sit out the 2020 campaign. Belichick is also the owner of the world’s biggest Tom Brady film collection.

    Honorable mention

    Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5, 47)

    Since revenge and reunions are the common themes of Week 4, how about a recall to the 2020 CFP Championship Game? The last two No. 1 overall picks go head-to-head in Week 4 when Trevor Lawrence and the Jags visit Joe Burrow and the Bengals on Thursday Night Football.

    Burrow roasted Lawrence’s Clemson team in that national title game, finding WR Ja’Marr Chase for 221 yards and two touchdowns. And what do you know? Chase was Cincinnati’s top choice in this year’s draft. As an LSU fan, this TNF clash brings back great memories.

    Week 5
    Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5, 54.5)

    This AFC Championship Game rematch is the crown jewel of Week 5, earning the big stage of Sunday Night Football. Kansas City knocked off Buffalo 39-24 in that conference title game in January, covering as a field-goal fave and easily going Over the 55-point total.

    This primetime game is the lone homestand for the Chiefs between Week 4 and Week 7, and Arrowhead will be rocking, with well-oiled (and vaccinated) fans in the stands. Kansas City is 11-6 ATS in home primetime games since 2000 and hasn’t been this short a favorite at Arrowhead in the regular season since giving 3.5 points to Houston in Week 6 of the 2019 season.

    Honorable mention

    Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (Pick’em, 48)

    Russell Wilson had better make sure his mouthguard is up to snuff for this Thursday night run-in with the rival L.A. Rams. Los Angeles’ defense has been one of the few stop units able to contain Wilson. He posted a QB rating of just 74.1 with one TD, two INTs, and 11 sacks taken in two regular season meetings with L.A., then lost 30-20 to the Rams in the Wild Card Round, eating another five sacks in that playoff loss. If the Seahawks want to keep Russ happy, keep him upright.

    Week 6
    Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5, 49)

    The Chargers are a sleeper in the AFC with all eyes on the maturation of QB Justin Herbert. This mid-October trip to Baltimore for an early 1 p.m. ET kickoff (10 a.m. PT) serves as a litmus test for the Bolts, who went 5-3 ATS on the road in 2020.

    The Chargers have been a dependable road bet since moving to La-La Land in 2017, especially when getting more than a field goal from the oddsmakers, boasting a 6-3-1 ATS mark as road underdogs of +3.5 or more.

    However, in true Chargers faceplant fashion, the Bolts are 3-7 SU in those contests and seven of those matchups were one-score games. So maybe steer clear of L.A.’s moneyline in this Week 6 matchup. It will be interesting if new head coach Brandon Staley can break that bad habit of losing close games.

    Honorable mention

    Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (+2.5, 45.5)

    The NFL returns to the UK in 2021 as does the wake-and-rake 9:30 a.m. ET kickoffs. Nothing goes better with NFL betting than scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and a stiff cup of joe. This matchup also gives us a rematch of Tua Tagovailoa vs. Trevor Lawrence, who headlined the 2019 CFP National Championship. This trip across the pond is a tough schedule spot for the Fins, who will be playing their second straight away game and third in four weeks when they take the pitch at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    Week 7
    Detroit Lions at Los Angeles Rams (-12, 46)

    By the looks of that chunky point spread, this isn’t going to be a good game. But it’s the intrigue around the two quarterbacks – Jared Goff and Matt Stafford – facing their former teams that draws our attention. Rams coach Sean McVay knows Goff better than any QB in the league while Detroit rookie head coach Dan Campbell doesn’t have the same level of intel on Stafford.

    The Lions also allowed 41 sacks in 2020 and face an L.A. pass rush that finished second in the NFL with 53 QB kills on the season. Will McVay and Stafford run it up on his former club? McVay is 6-4 ATS as a double-digit favorite since picking up the Rams’ reigns in 2017.

    Honorable mention

    Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans (+4.5, 54.5)

    The last time these AFC heavyweights clashed, the Titans were coughing up a 10-point lead in the second quarter of the 2020 AFC Championship Game, falling victim to another classic Patrick Mahomes comeback. The Chiefs will be playing their third road game in four weeks when they come to Music City in Week 7, while Tennessee is on a short week after hosting Buffalo that Monday night – a result that will have a huge influence on this spread.

    Week 8
    Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks (-7.5, 48)

    This is a scrub of a game, likely featuring a rookie quarterback getting his first taste of Seattle’s 12th Man, and Wilson's previous two offensive coordinators returning on the opposite sideline. But I circle it for the rare trend tied into Jacksonville in Week 8. The Jaguars are coming off a bye week after playing Miami in London in Week 6 - a situation that once produced a 16-3-3 ATS streak.

    However, this unique trend imploded in 2019. Teams coming off a bye after playing a UK game went 0-8 ATS that season. Due to the pandemic, the NFL canceled all of its international contests in 2020 but does have two London games on the board in 2021. The Dolphins strangely don’t get a bye following the Week 6 UK game, but the Jets and Falcons do after matching up at Hotspur Stadium in Week 5. Do what you want with this info...

    Honorable mention

    Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings (-2, 49.5)

    This “Halloween Night Spooktacular” could be a battle of two of the top teams in the NFC or, knowing the Cowboys and Vikings, maybe not. All I know is that I’ll be parked on my couch, “checking” my kids' Trick-or-Treat haul for poison candy. My Over/Under on Reese Cups consumed is pretty much on par with the 49.5-point total. Minnesota topped the number in seven of its eight home stands last season and is 11-5 O/U in its last 16 games inside U.S. Bank Stadium.

    Week 9
    Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Rams (-5.5, 49.5)

    Yes, I know Green Bay plays Kansas City in Week 9. But baring a change of heart from Aaron Rodgers, that game is a dud. And do we really care about Carolina facing former QB Cam Newton? The Patriots will be on to Mac Jones by the midway mark of the schedule anyways.

    This non-conference clash on Sunday Night Football is pretty sexy and should new faces like Matthew Stafford and Julio Jones work out, there’s a surplus of firepower on the field for both sides. Tennessee has a new offensive coordinator in Todd Downing, who will have to navigate Aaron Donald and L.A.’s pass rush. Luckily, he can lean on Derrick Henry to keep the Rams honest and Ryan Tannehill clean.

    Honorable mention

    Las Vegas Raiders at New York Giants (-1.5, 47.5)

    If you like your spot bets, and God knows I do, the Raiders find themselves in a middle of a situational sandwich in Week 9. Las Vegas has to travel across the country to play a 1 p.m. ET start in the Meadowlands – a scenario that plagued this team when it was in Oakland. Those Raiders were 1-7 ATS in 1 p.m. starts between 2017 and 2019, however, the Sin City Silver and Black were 3-3 ATS in early kickoffs last year. Adding to this tricky kickoff is a possible lookahead spot to a homestand with Kansas City in Week 10.

    Week 10
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team (+6.5, 50.5)

    The Ryan Fitzpatrick Bowl in Week 10 is promising plenty of points, despite these two stop units ranking No. 3 and No. 5 respectively in defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders last year. That said, Washington and Tampa Bay collided in the Wild Card Round last winter, with the Bucs taking a 31-23 win but the WFT covering as 10-point home pups.

    Fitzpatrick is the leader in the clubhouse for the starting QB job in DC entering camp and he does have an underrated receiving corps lined up. That can be good and bad. It’s all or nothing with Fitz, who threw 13 INTs in 15 games with the Dolphins last year. He faces a title-winning defense that picked up 25 takeaways in 2020, including 15 interceptions.

    Honorable mention

    Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (-3, 49.5)

    This is potentially the most entertaining game of the year – if Rodgers sticks around Wisconsin for one more season. Between him and Russell Wilson, the Over/Under on Hail Mary TD bombs is set at 2.5. But you can’t help but notice bookies playing it safe with that sub-50 total. The Packers had only six games with closing totals of less than 50 points last year and went 5-1 O/U in those games.

    Week 11
    Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5, 55)

    This looks to be the highest Over/Under for the entire 2021 NFL season, according to the early lookahead lines. If Dak Prescott stays healthy for the Cowboys, blowing through this double nickel shouldn’t be an issue.

    Dallas was an Over bettor’s dream before Dak’s gruesome injury in Week 5 last season, topping totals of 53, 56.5, and 58 points between Week 2 and Week 4. Part of that was the explosive passing game of America’s Team and part of it was a piss poor Dallas defense. Both should be in attendance at Arrowhead Stadium for this Week 11 gem.

    Honorable mention

    Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5, 48)

    The Sunday nighter in Week 11 could hold heavy playoff implications with both the Bolts and Steelers competing for division crowns or at least a Wild Card ticket. Can the ghost of Ben Roethlisberger survive this deep into the season? Pittsburgh fans hope so with the team going 10-6 SU and ATS as road underdogs of less than the field goal since Big Ben took over under center so many moons ago.

    Week 12
    Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-5.5, 53)

    Turkey. Stuffing. Pumpkin pie. Betting against the Cowboys. Fading America’s Team on Thanksgiving has become a beloved tradition, with Dallas going just 1-9 ATS on Turkey Day the past 10 seasons.

    This year, the Cowboys welcome Vegas to Jerry’s World on the holiday which also happens to be their lone homestand in a five-game string from November 21 to December 19. Dallas is coming off a road game at Arrowhead and has just four days before this Thursday matinee in Week 12, which also boasts a lofty total at 53 points.

    Honorable mention

    Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5, 46.5)

    A classic AFC North rivalry between the former Browns and the current Browns on Sunday Night Football. Cleveland caught a 38-6 ass waxing the last time it showed up in M&T Bank Stadium and has been a bad bet on the road in divisional games. The Browns were 0-3 ATS visiting AFC North rivals last season and own a dismal 6-12 ATS mark in divisional road stops since 2015.

    Week 13
    Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (+4, 46)

    Unlucky Week 13 has a few highlights but we’re looking into this NFC North matchup, with the Vikings playing their second straight road game and their fourth away outing in five weeks. That stretch features two trips to California, including a visit to San Francisco in Week 12 before hopping a plane to Detroit. Hopefully the Vikes are collecting frequent-flyer miles.

    The Vikings could also get caught looking ahead to a home game versus Pittsburgh just four days later on Thursday Night Football in Week 14. The Lions are more than likely going to be god awful this year, with a win total of just five, but I’m always on the hunt for feisty underdogs at home.

    Honorable mention

    Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears (+1.5, 46)

    I’m pretty high on Arizona entering Year 3 under Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray, but this trip to the Windy City in December could be a shock to the system for the desert-dwelling Cardinals, if the bitter Midwest winter shows up. Arizona is coming off a bye in Week 12, but the Bears enjoy a mini bye after playing on Thursday the previous week.

    Week 14
    Buffalo Bills at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4, 53.5)

    A potential Super Bowl preview in place for this 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff. Josh Allen’s big arm and ability to wheel-and-deal will get tested by an aggressive Bucs pass rush and ball-hawking secondary. This is the shortest we find Tampa Bay at home in 2021 after it went 6-3 ATS inside Raymond James Stadium all of last year.

    Tom Brady was a Bills killer in his time with New England and owns a career 32-3 SU record versus Buffalo, boasting a sterling 97.9 QB rating along with 70 touchdown passes and 25 interceptions in those meetings.

    Honorable mention

    Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (-2.5, 46.5)

    Didn’t we just mention this game? In a funky scheduling quirk, the Browns actually play back-to-back games against the Ravens with a Week 13 bye in between. So that’s three straight weeks of film study and prep focused solely on Baltimore. The Ravens, on the other hand, have a trip to Pittsburgh between battles with the Browns, and Week 14 will be the team’s third road game in four weeks.

    Week 15
    Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (-4, 48)

    This NFC West war will more than likely swing the postseason pendulum in the conference, with both teams expected to contend for the playoffs. And even if one is on the outside looking in, they would love nothing more than to play spoiler in this Week 15 showdown.

    As long as Russell Wilson has time on the clock and DK Metcalf clowning defensive backs, Seattle has a shot. The Seahawks are 17-8-2 ATS as road dogs since Wilson was the starter and are 8-2 ATS as divisional road pups.

    Honorable mention

    Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills (-9.5, 49)

    Oh, the weather outside could be frightful for this December 18 date in Orchard Park. Another frightful thought is the potential sandwich spot facing Buffalo, with the Panthers (and former AFC East rival Sam Darnold) placed between road trips to Tampa Bay in Week 14 and New England in Week 16. All the busted tables in upstate New York may not be able to cover this hefty spread.

    Week 16
    San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans (+1, 47)

    One of the biggest mysteries entering the 2021 NFL season is the San Francisco 49ers. Will this team pick up where it left off before being ravaged by injuries last year? Or is the QB controversy between Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Trey Lance going to consume this once-promising team?

    Despite this game being the Niners’ third road trip in December, bookies are giving San Francisco the benefit of the doubt with this lookahead line, setting Tennessee as a slight home underdog in Week 16. The Titans are just 9-27 SU and 14-21-1 ATS when catching points at home since 2010.

    Honorable mention

    Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys (-5, 48)

    The NFC East could be a log jam again in 2021 and this classic rivalry on Sunday Night Football could shakedown as a must-win game for one of these teams. That’s never a great scenario for the Cowboys, who have consistently stubbed their toe in these pressure spots. Washington football fans may want to give themselves a late Xmas present and take the points with the Football Team.

    Week 17
    Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots (-5.5, 43.5)

    We all know Bill Belichick feeds on the souls of rookie quarterbacks, going 20-5 SU against first-year passers since 2000. But what happens when the Hoodie is also starting a rookie QB? That could be the case if Trevor Lawrence and Mac Jones square off in this 1 p.m. ET kickoff in Week 17.

    This January 2 contest in Gillette Stadium will be a contrasting environment compared to the Florida sun and marks the third road game in four weeks for the Jaguars, who could just be counting down the days until the end of the season at this point. New England, on the other hand, may still be jockeying for position in a competitive AFC East.

    Honorable mention

    Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (Pick’em, 43.5)

    So much bad blood on the table and a weighted game on Monday night with potential playoff implications. This is a tough spot for Pittsburgh, which runs the gauntlet to cap the campaign with a road trip to Kansas City in Week 16 and a matchup in Baltimore in Week 18. This is a pretty low total for today’s NFL standards, but the Steelers are 15-22-1 O/U in divisional matchups since 2015 (59 percent Unders).

    Week 18
    Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (+6, 49)

    Holy shit, you read all the way to Week 18. Good stuff, thanks for sticking around. The NFL’s extra week will be packed with all shades of silliness on January 9, much like Week 17 used to be. You’ll have teams battling for playoff spots, teams resting their starters in prep for the postseason, and in the case of the Texans, you’ll have teams in full-on tank mode.

    Houston has the shortest season win total of the 2021 NFL campaign, sitting at 4.5 wins, and lord knows what this roster will look at in the final week of the slate (Deshaun? No Deshaun?). Given those projections and the absolute buffoonery of this franchise, you can feel secure knowing the Texans will be tanking for the No. 1 pick – especially after going without a first-round selection the past two seasons. Tennessee, which will be in the playoff picture, is a steal at less than a TD right now.

    Honorable mention

    Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (+3, 45.5)

    The last time these classic rivals clashed in Mile High, Kansas City was a touchdown road favorite. There are a couple of angles playing into this somewhat head-scratching spread: 1. The Chiefs are likely locked into a high playoff seed and resting bodies in Week 18. 2. Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback of the Broncos and has them vying for a postseason ticket of their own. 3. Deshaun Watson is the quarterback of the Broncos and has them vying for a postseason ticket of their own.

  19. #19
    Tuesday’s Den: Trends for NFC trends…..

    Arizona Cardinals:

    — Last made playoffs in 2015
    — 1-3-1 SU in last five season openers.
    — Since 2015, they’re 9-18 ATS as home favorites.
    — Since 2018, they’re 10-6-2 ATS as road underdogs.

    Atlanta Falcons:
    — Last 3 years, they’re 18-30 SU
    — Lost last 3 openers by 6-16-13 points.
    — Since 2015, they’re 20-27 ATS coming off a loss.
    — Since 2017, they’re 2-7 ATS as road favorites.

    Carolina Panthers:
    — They went 17-2 in 2015, lost Super Bowl, are 34-47 since then.
    — Since 2012, they’re 7-16-1 ATS as road favorites, 34-16 as road dogs.
    — Last two years, Carolina is 4-11-1 ATS at home.
    — Last four years, over is 20-12 in Panther home games.

    Chicago Bears:
    — Bears haven’t won a playoff game (0-2) since 2010.
    — Chicago lost six of last seven season openers.
    — Last two years, they’re 4-10-1 ATS off a loss.
    — Last four years, under is 21-11 in their home games.

    Dallas Cowboys:
    — Over last 20 years, Dallas is 4-7 in playoff games.
    — Last three years, Cowboys are 6-0 ATS as home underdogs.
    — Last three years, over is 16-8 in their home games.
    — Last 3 years, they’re 2-8 ATS as favorite of 3 or fewer points.

    Detroit Lions:
    — Last three years, they’re 14-33-1 SU, minus-20 in turnovers.
    — Which is why they have a new GM, coach, QB.
    — Last three years, they’re 7-15-1 ATS at home.
    — Last two years, Lions are 6-13-2 ATS coming off a loss.
    — Since 2014, they’re 9-19-1 ATS as a dog of 3 or fewer points.

    Green Bay Packers
    — Last two years, they’re 26-6 SU, with +24 turnover ratio.
    — Packers are 30-18-2 ATS in last 50 games as a home favorite.
    — Since 2015, under is their home games.
    — Last nine years, they’re 14-21-1 ATS on artificial turf.

    Los Angeles Rams
    — McVay is 43-21 SU in four years with the Rams.
    — 10 years before that, Rams were 46-113 SU.
    — Last two years, under is 13-3 in their home games.
    — Rams won/covered last four season openers.
    — McVay’s first 2 years, Rams were +19 in turnovers; last two years, minus-3.

    Minnesota Vikings:
    — Did not having fans matter? Over was 7-1 in their home games LY; from 2016-19, under was 20-10-2 in Viking home games.
    — Zimmer is 26-16-1 ATS as home favorite, despite going 1-6 LY.
    — Last three years, they’re 8-15-1 ATS coming off a win.
    — Since 2014, they’re 17-9 ATS as favorites of 3 or fewer points.

    New Orleans Saints
    — Last time Drew Brees wasn’t the Saints’ QB? 2005 (Aaron Brooks)
    — Last 4 years, Saints were 49-15 SU (+39 in turnovers, 3-4 in playoffs)
    — Since 2014, over is 36-20 in the Superdome.
    — Since 2015, they’re 20-9-1 ATS coming off a loss.

    New Jersey Giants
    — Last four years, Giants are 18-46 SU.
    — Giants won Super Bowl in 2011; since then, they’re 0-1 in playoffs.
    — Last 3 years, they’re 4-14 ATS as home underdogs, 16-4 as road dogs.
    — Since 2016, under is 24-16 in their home games.

    Philadelphia Eagles:
    — Eagles won eight of last ten season openers.
    — Last three years, they’re 5-13 ATS as home favorites.
    — Since 2016, under is 28-12 in Philly home games.
    — Last three years, they’re 8-16 ATS coming off a loss.

    San Francisco 49ers
    — 49ers made playoffs once in last seven years.
    — Last three years, they’re 4-12-1 ATS as home favorites.
    — Last two years, they’re 9-3 ATS as an underdog.
    — Last four years, they’re 11-5 ATS vs AFC teams.

    Seattle Seahawks
    — Finished over .500 last nine years (9-7 in playoff games)
    — Since 2012, underdogs are 17-6-3 ATS in their NFC West road games.
    — Since 2011, they’re 31-16-4 ATS coming off a loss.
    — Last 3 years, they’re 11-5-3 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less points.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
    — Bucs were +8 in turnovers LY; previous two years, they were minus-31.
    — Last four years, over is 23-9 in their road games.
    — Since 2017, Bucs are 10-2-1 ATS as home dogs, 6-11-4 as road dogs.
    — Bucs won Super Bowl in 2002 and last year; the 17 years in between, they were 0-2 in playoff games.

    — Last 20 years, they’re 1-5 in playoffs; the win was in 2005.
    — Last three years, they’re 12-8-1 ATS as road underdogs.
    — Last three years, they’re 11-5 ATS coming off a win.
    — Since 2015, they’re 26-15-1 ATS in games with spread of 3 or fewer points.

  20. #20
    Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL Betting Preview: Back the Dak Attack

    The Dallas Cowboys' roster has some unknowns and some more with something to prove in 2021, but backing their high-powered offense is a certainty. Our Cowboys betting preview tells you how to best bet the enigmatic America's Team.

    When Dak Prescott went down in Week 5 last year, the Dallas Cowboys’ season left on that cart with him. Now Dak is back, and expectations are high for America’s Team.

    There are a lot of guys in this organization with something to prove in 2021. Besides Prescott living up to that juicy contract, Ezekiel Elliott wants to return to the top of the rushing charts, Mike McCarthy needs to prove his worth as a head coach, and Dan Quinn is out to exorcise those demons borne in Atlanta.

    Check out our 2021 Dallas Cowboys NFL betting preview.

    Dallas Cowboys futures odds

    Futures Bet Odds

    Super Bowl +2,500
    To Win Conference +1,200
    To Win Division +140
    Season Win Total O/U 9.5 (Over -115)
    To Make Playoffs Yes -145 / No +125
    Best futures bet: Win NFC East +140

    Prescott is by far the best quarterback in the division and no other NFC East club comes close to this offense. Before Dak went down in 2020, the Cowboys attack was remarkable. How remarkable? Dallas averaged just below 33 points per game despite possessing the football for an average of only 26:25 per contest – putting up 1.24 points per minute on offense (Green Bay’s No. 1 offense posted 0.954 points per minute).

    Year 2 under McCarthy comes with camp, practice, and proper preseason, which were not in place in the COVID-19 stricken 2020 campaign, and Quinn should bring some consistency to a defense that struggled in whatever the hell Mike Nolan was trying to do last year. Dallas is also handed the second softest schedule in the NFL (.452 opponent win percentage) with plenty of winnable road games, outside of trips to Tampa Bay and Kansas City.

    Dallas Cowboys betting overview

    What will win bets: Offense
    With Dak on the attack, Elliott out for redemption behind a healthy offensive line, and the best receiving corps in the NFC lining up, Dallas is going to score a shit ton of points in 2021.

    If you need evidence, glance over those lookahead lines and count how many totals are already topping 50 points or more (seven, there’s seven if you’re lazy). With a bevy of weapons and ways to beat you, the Cowboys are going to give opposing defenses the night sweats.

    What will lose bets: Defense
    More specifically the secondary, but if the front seven can’t get pressure on opposing passers, we’ll get a repeat of 2020 in which the Cowboys ranked 23rd in Defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders and surrendered more than 29 average points against. Dallas couldn’t get its man in the draft, watching the top corners go before its selection at No. 10 (which it traded to Philly), and is really leaning on second-year CB Trevon Diggs to improve leaps and bounds in 2021.

    It’s going to be painful to watch the Cowboys score 30-plus points per game but come up short against the spread each Sunday. Dallas fans will want to scream into their pillow after the defense gives up 500 yards passing to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Terry McLaurin and the WFT in Week 14. Just a warning.

    Dallas Cowboys game-by-game odds

    The Cowboys are point spread faves in 10 of 17 games, which is pretty much right on their season win total Over/Under of 9.5 victories. Dallas is dishing out more than a field goal in seven of those contests and since Dak took over at QB in 2016, the team is 17-12-1 ATS when laying 3.5 points or more.

    The back end of the schedule is road-heavy, with four of the final six games away from Jerry’s World, including three stops to play divisional rivals in outdoor venues in December/January (more on that below). The Cowboys are either short faves or short dogs in those NFC East matchups and are 0-4 ATS with spreads between -2.5 and +2.5 in divisional road games since 2016.

    Week Opponent Spread Total

    1 @ Tampa Bay +6.5 52

    2 @ L.A. Chargers +1.5 52

    3 vs Philadelphia -6.5 49.5

    4 vs Carolina -5.5 49.5

    5 vs N.Y. Giants -5.5 48.5

    6 @ New England +1.5 48

    7 BYE

    8 @ Minnesota +2 49.5

    9 vs Denver -4.5 47

    10 vs Atlanta -5.5 51.5

    11 @ Kansas City +7.5 55

    12 vs Las Vegas -5.5 53

    13 @ New Orleans +3 50

    14 @ Washington +1.5 47.5

    15 @ N.Y. Giants -1 47

    16 vs Washington -5 48

    17 vs Arizona -2.5 52

    18 @ Philadelphia -2.5 43.5

    Early season forecast

    With back-to-back road games against quality foes to start 2021, the sky could be falling in Big D by the Cowboys’ home opener in Week 3, especially working in a new defensive coordinator against the Bucs and Bolts.

    The 2021 season opens on Thursday Night Football in Week 1, with Dallas visiting the defending Big Game winners in Tampa Bay as a 6.5-point underdog. The Cowboys are 5-3 ATS when catching 6.5 points or more since 2016 (when Prescott became starter) but defending Super Bowl champs are 14-6-1 ATS in Week 1 of the following season since 2000.

    Week 2 sends America’s Team to La-La Land for a run in with the Chargers. Los Angeles is giving the Cowboys 1.5 points, with its coaching staff undergoing an overhaul this offseason. The total is pegged at 52 points and Dallas has lived up to those lofty numbers in recent years, going 9-6 Over/Under versus totals of 50 or more the past five seasons.

    Monday Night Football is the stage for the Cowboys’ home opener, handing 6.5 points to the visiting Eagles – another team with a revamp on the sideline. Hefty chalk has been no problem for Prescott & Co. with Dallas boasting an 11-4-1 ATS mark when giving 6.5 points or more since 2016. A Cowboys-Over same-game parlay could have bite as well, with Dallas going Over in 10 of those 16 games when giving at least 6.5 points (4-1 ATS and 5-0 O/U in divisional games).

    Spot bet

    Week 12: vs Las Vegas (-5.5)

    The biggest turkeys on Thanksgiving have been the poor souls betting on the Cowboys in their annual holiday home game (me among them). Dallas is a dismal 1-9 ATS in its last 10 Thanksgiving showcases and faces a potent Las Vegas offense on a short turnaround after visiting Kansas City in Week 11. I hope you like your schedule spots stuffed with letdown game. Gobble gobble!

    Totals tip

    The Cowboys finished 9-7 Over/Under in 2020 but had guys like Andy Dalton, Garrett Gilbert and Ben Dinucci taking snaps after Prescott went down in Week 5. Up to and including that game, Dallas had gone Over in four of its first five contests.

    And it wasn’t just Dak’s injury that dampened the offense last year. The once-mighty offensive line was missing key cogs and Elliott was unable to gain traction, as defenses didn’t need to worry about the pass and stacked the box.

    Quinn’s Cover-3 and hybrid fronts will take some time to set in, making the opening stretch of 2021 primetime for Over bettors – most notably the five home stands between Week 3 and Week 10 (bye in Week 7).

    Home has always been where the heart is for those high-scoring results, with the Cowboys going 6-2 O/U inside AT&T Stadium last year and 25-17 O/U (59.5 percent Overs) at home since 2016.

    Star power props: Dak Prescott, QB
    Player prop Odds to win
    MVP +1,500
    Comeback Player of the Year +200
    Passing leader +500
    Passing yards total 4,825.5 (Over -112)
    Passing TD total 32.5 (Under -125)
    Best prop: MVP +1,500

    Given Prescott is the runaway favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year and the second overall favorite to lead the league in passing, why waste our futures flyer on 5/1 or 2/1 returns when MVP can be had at 15/1? Let’s get greedy. If Dak accomplishes those two tasks (or comes close to the passing lead) and gets the Cowboys Over 9.5 wins, he’ll garner a lot of MVP buzz given the public appeal of America’s Team.

    His ankle strength and mobility are questions heading into 2021, but he’s got Zack Martin, La'el Collins, and Tyron Smith back on the line and Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup to throw to. The dark shadow of contract talk is gone, and Prescott posted 1,856 yards and nine touchdowns in only five games in 2020, which would have had him on pace for a 6,000-plus yard season under the new 17-game format.

    Trend to know

    December football has dug into Dallas bettors’ Xmas funds for a while now, at least when the Cowboys hit the road. Since 2016, America’s Team is just 6-7 SU and 4-8-1 ATS as a visitor between Week 13 and Week 17. Going back to the turn of the century (2000 to 2020), this franchise is a Grinch-approved 19-34-2 ATS on the road in the final five weeks of the regular season – covering at just 36 percent long term.

    Cowboys’ late-season road games

    Week 13 @ New Orleans +3
    Week 14 @ Washington +1.5
    Week 15 @ N.Y. Giants -1
    Week 18 @ Philadelphia -2.5

  21. #21
    Washington Football Team 2021 NFL Betting Preview: Will Ryan Fitzpatrick Work His Magic in DC?

    With strong coaching and a talented defense, we know the Washington Football Team will roll back their defensive performance from last season. Will Fitz Magic and the offense be able to hang? Our Washington Football Team betting preview breaks it down.

    The Washington Football Team is the NFL’s equivalent to pineapple on pizza. Some love them. Some don’t. And, looking at the WFT’s futures and lookahead lines, it’s clear the oddsmakers hate pineapple on pizza.

    The Football Team will remain among the defensive elite and should improve in Year 2 under Ron Rivera, building on last year’s postseason appearance. But the “NFC Least” will push back more in 2021 and veteran gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick is a rough duct tape job holding this offense together.

    Take a big bite of pineapple with our 2021 Washington Football Team NFL betting preview.

    Washington Football Team futures odds
    Futures Bet Odds
    Super Bowl +50,000
    To Win Conference +2,500
    To Win Division +240
    Season Win Total O/U 8 (Over -140)
    To Make Playoffs Yes +155 / No -175
    Best futures bet: Over 8 wins (-140)

    If the point spreads have any say, this win total would be wayyyyyyy lower. But, let’s put some respect on the name of the Washington… wait, they still don’t have a name yet?! Holy hell. But I digress. This was a playoff team in 2020, in part due to a shutdown defense as well as a dog shit year for the NFC East.

    This stop unit will once again put the D in D.C. but barring another wave of catastrophic injuries, the division will be better. Fitzpatrick is the best QB option this team has had since Kirk Cousins grabbed the bag in Minnesota, which isn’t saying much, but it’s enough to collect eight wins or at least push with this total.

    Washington Football Team betting overview

    What will win bets: Defense

    The Football Team was No. 3 in Defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders in 2020 and remains pretty much intact for this coming season. Washington has a disruptive defensive line that helped collect 47 sacks and the passing defense allowed less than 192 yards per game, including just 36 passing plays of 20-plus yards against (tied for fewest in the NFL).

    Washington gave up just over 21 points per game on the year – only 4.4 points per fourth quarter - and checked each of its final seven foes of the regular season to 20 points or less. The offense won’t need to do much to keep the WFT within the oddsmakers’ expectations.

    What will lose bets: Running game
    The Football Team doesn’t present much punch on the ground with the likes of Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic leading a rushing attack that finished 28th in yards per carry (4.0) and averaged just over 100 yards per contest in 2020. The weakness of the running game compounds the shakeup on the offensive line.

    If opponents need not fear the ground game, they can let it rip with blitzes and attack an O-line that allowed 50 sacks last season (tied for second-most). If the protection can’t give Fitzpatrick time to find deep threats Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, then this offense is sunk.

    Washington Football Team game-by-game odds

    Washington is a point spread favorite in a mere three games this season but also has nine spreads as an underdog of a field goal or fewer. Unlike divisional foes Philadelphia and Dallas, who have the two weakest 2021 schedules, the WFT ranks T-15 in SOS.

    The Football Team got the points in 14 of its 17 2020 contests (including playoffs) and came away with a 9-5 ATS mark in those games, including a 4-2 ATS count when pegged as a pup of three points or less.

    Week Opponent Spread Total

    1 vs L.A. Chargers +1.5 44.5

    2 vs N.Y. Giants -3 43

    3 @ Buffalo +7.5 48

    4 @ Atlanta +2.5 48

    5 vs New Orleans +1 46.5

    6 vs Kansas City +6.5 50.5

    7 @ Green Bay +7 47.5

    8 @ Denver +3 43

    9 BYE

    10 vs Tampa Bay +6.5 50.5

    11 @ Carolina +1 46.5

    12 vs Seattle +2.5 46.5

    13 @ Las Vegas +2.5 47.5

    14 vs Dallas -1.5 47.5

    15 @ Philadelphia +1.5 46

    16 @ Dallas +5 48

    17 vs Philadelphia -3.5 44.5

    18 @ N.Y. Giants +1.5 42.5

    Early season forecast

    A home-friendly start to 2021 has WFT bettors in a good mood, as the 2020 team posted a 6-3 ATS mark inside FedEx Field.

    The Chargers set their alarm clocks for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff (10 a.m. PT) in the nation’s capital in Week 1, giving 1.5 points to the host side. Washington’s defense is the first true test for a retooled L.A. offense, but early action slipped this spread from pick’em to as far as WFT +1.5. Short home underdogs between PK and +1.5 are 13-7 SU and ATS in Week 1 since 2000.

    The Football Team welcomes the rival Giants for Thursday Night Football in Week 2, laying a field goal – just one of three games in which Washington is giving points this season. The G-Men have long had the number of their divisional foe, especially in D.C. where Washington is just 7-14 SU and 8-13 ATS hosting New York the past 21 seasons. The Football Team lost both matchups with the Giants in 2020.

    The first road trip of the schedule is a doozy, as the Bills break out the tables and a 7.5-point spread at Orchard Park in Week 3. As solid as the WFT was as a pup in Year 1 under Rivera, it wasn’t as strong when catching six or more points from the bookies (0-6 SU and 3-3 ATS). Non-conference road games have plagued Washington for a few seasons, going 4-7 SU and ATS since 2015.

    Spot bet

    Week 8: @ Denver (+3)

    The Football Team plays its second straight road game in the high altitude of Denver on Halloween - a week removed from visiting Aaron Rodgers and the high-powered Packers in Week 7. This energy-sapping contest could also play the role of lookahead spot, with a valuable bye week dangling like a carrot in Week 9. The total for this one is set at 43 points. Washington went 1-4 Over/Under in games with sub-44 numbers in 2020.

    Totals tip

    Washington finished the regular season with a 5-11 Over/Under count, staying below the number in 10 of its final dozen games of 2020.

    That’s to be expected when you have a defense this stingy and a QB roll call that reads Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, and Taylor Heinicke. Can Fitz Magic turn those total results on their ear? Probably not. The Dolphins went 3-6 O/U with Fitzpatrick slinging it last year.

    One thing to look out for when betting the WFT totals – and it’s a rare spot – is going Under when D.C. is giving the points. Since 2017, Washington is 4-10 O/U (71 percent Under) as a favorite, including 0-3 O/U last year.

    Star power props: Chase Young DE
    Player prop Odds to win
    Defensive Player of the Year +1,600
    Sacks Leader +1,200
    Sacks Total 8.5 (Under -130)
    Best prop: Over 8.5 sacks (-110)

    This prop is asking for a 1.5-sack improvement from Young, if one should side with the Over 8.5. The Ohio State product did a solid job getting to the quarterback in his rookie season (7.5 sacks) despite drawing double teams most weeks (which allowed Montez Sweat to go HAM with a team-high nine sacks).

    Young finished 2020 with six QB knockdowns and 24 pressures, as well as a number of near sacks, and as foes have to pick their poison against this talented WFT defensive line, those close calls will manifest themselves in QB kills as this remarkable talent grows as a pro.

    Trend to know

    In their first year under Ron Rivera, the Football Team went 2-1 ATS versus the NFC East at home – a situation that has plagued this franchise for the past few years. Going back to 2016, Washington is just 5-10 SU and ATS at home in divisional games – covering only 33 percent of the time.

    WFT home divisional games

    Week 2: vs N.Y. Giants -3
    Week 14: vs Dallas -1.5
    Week 17: vs Philadelphia -3.5

  22. #22
    Philadelphia Eagles 2021 NFL Betting Preview: New Regime, Rough Early Schedule Not Great For Philly

    There's a whole new regime in Philly, with Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz gone, which means it's likely to be a long season in the City of Brotherly Love. Our Eagles betting preview expects lots of growing pains — but betting value later in the season.

    The rebuild in the City of Brotherly Love has begun with the Philadelphia Eagles cleaning house this offseason and bringing in shiny new sideline pieces for the 2021 NFL campaign.

    Rookie head coach Nick Sirianni inherits a roster that suffered the second most non-COVID missed games last year (126.1) and has to figure out fast whether Jalen Hurts is the face of the franchise or a placeholder QB.

    Mix in that uncertainty with an always-volatile NFC East, and who knows how things will shake down in Philly. But we’ll do our best…

    Here’s the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles NFL betting preview.

    Philadelphia Eagles futures odds
    Futures Bet Odds
    Super Bowl +10,000
    To Win Conference +5,000
    To Win Division +450
    To Make Playoffs Yes +250/No -300
    Season Win Total O/U 6.5 (Over -140)
    Best futures bet: Under 6.5 wins (+120)

    It’s tough to tell what the topsy-turvy NFC East will give in terms of wins but just sizing up the Eagles’ opening two months, there’s a case for this squad going winless before heading to Detroit as 1-point chalk in Week 8.

    The saving grace for Over backers could be three of the final four games coming at home versus divisional foes in December/January. But I’d rather bet against a second-year QB (who isn’t elite) and a revamped staff at plus money than lay the lumber on the Over.

    Philadelphia Eagles betting overview
    What will win bets: Sizeable spreads

    By the time winter rolls around, the Eagles’ point spreads will be swollen like bellies after 2-for-1 cheesesteak night at Pat’s. Philly is already catching plenty of points in 2021, with eight spreads of +3.5 or higher and three at +6.5 or more. Under Pederson, the Eagles were 8-5 ATS when catching +6.5 or higher from the bookies.

    Come late-November and December, this team will improve. The Eagles will be up to speed on their new systems and facing a softer slate of familiar NFC East opponents. Those short spreads on the lookahead lines will jump the fence to plus-points or tick above the key number of a field goal — and barring a rash of injuries like 2020, value will bubble up.

    What will lose bets: Defensive growing pains

    This new coaching staff gets a baptism by fire in the early workings of the season... especially this defense. New coordinator Jonathan Gannon faces serious firepower in the form of San Francisco, Dallas, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and Las Vegas — all before Halloween. Scary shit.

    The talk out of training camp is that Philadelphia — which ranked 24th in passing defense DVOA at Football Outsiders last season — is leaning on a chaotic and disruptive philosophy, trying to force turnovers. The big issue is that those types of defenses, that like to roll the dice, tend to give up big plays.

    Philadelphia Eagles game-by-game odds

    The Eagles are underdogs in 14 of their 17 games in 2021 and the three spreads for which Philly is the favorite are pegged at -1.5 or lower. In the final two years under former head coach Doug Pederson (2019 and 2020), Philadelphia finished just 5-12 ATS when laying the points (8-8-1 SU).

    The Eagles have the weakest slate in the league (.430 opponent win percentage) but it’s heavily frontloaded. The first half of the schedule is a tough road for this new coaching staff, with five of those eight contests coming away from home. The three home games come against the last three teams to play in the Super Bowl: 49ers, Chiefs and Buccaneers. Ouch.

    Week Opponent Spread Total

    1 @ Atlanta +3.5 48

    2 vs San Francisco +4 46

    3 @ Dallas +6.5 49.5

    4 vs Kansas City +8 50.5

    5 @ Carolina +3 47.5

    6 vs Tampa Bay +7.5 50.5

    7 @ Las Vegas +3.5 48.5

    8 @ Detroit -1 48.5

    9 vs L.A. Chargers +2 48

    10 @ Denver +5.5 45.5

    11 vs New Orleans +3 48

    12 @ N.Y. Giants +3 46.5

    13 @ N.Y. Jets +1.5 45

    14 BYE

    15 vs Washington -1.5 46

    16 vs N.Y. Giants -1.5 46

    17 @ Washington +3.5 44.5

    18 vs Dallas +2.5 43.5

    Early season forecast

    Philadelphia is getting more than a field goal in each of its first three games of 2021 for good reason. You have a rookie head coach and a talent-deprived roster for a franchise on the rebuild just a few years removed from a Super Bowl title.

    The schedule kicks off in Atlanta, where Philly is getting +3.5 against the Falcons. This spread is trending toward Eagles +4 at some books, with early play on the home side. For what it’s worth, Atlanta is incredible in home openers, going 11-2 SU and ATS in the first homestand of the season since 2008 (but just 3-2 SU and ATS last five seasons). Given there are only three preseason games, Philadelphia will still be working out the kinks on both sides of the ball come September 12.

    The San Francisco 49ers cross the country for an early 1 p.m. ET kickoff (10 a.m. PT) inside Lincoln Financial Field in Week 2, bringing four points with them for the host Eagles. Under Pederson, Philadelphia was a solid bet as a home underdog, going 9-4 ATS in the regular season and playoffs, including a 4-0 ATS mark as home pups in 2020.

    Divisional competition opens in Dallas for a Monday Night Football fight in Week 3, where bookies are giving the Eagles almost a touchdown versus the Cowboys. Since 2016, Philadelphia is just 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS as an underdog in divisional play, including a 0-4 SU/ATS mark as road dogs versus an NFC East rival.

    Spot bet

    Week 6 vs Tampa Bay (+7.5)

    Taking on the defending Super Bowl champs is never an easy task, but it’s made harder thanks to a short turnaround on Thursday Night Football in Week 6.

    What’s more, this lofty test sees the Eagles playing their fourth game in just 18 days, thanks to the Monday nighter in Week 3. For a team that was plagued by injuries in 2020, this stretch will be a true test of durability and depth.

    If you’re banking on the Bucs, you may want to do it now before this spread grows bigger.

    Totals tip

    The Eagles finished 7-9 Over/Under in 2020, with a 3-5 O/U count in home games. Philadelphia’s offensive woes (28th Offensive DVOA) were rooted in injuries across the offensive line, which rolled out 14 different combinations last year. That manifested itself into 65 sacks allowed — by far the most in the NFL.

    Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen have some raw talent to work with. Hurts can make plays with his legs when things break down and rookie WR Devonta Smith is an instant No. 1 target. The running game has good but not great options in Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Kerryon Johnson. As long as the O-line stays healthy, there should be an uptick in production.

    As mentioned, it looks like Gannon’s defense is going for broke in an attempt to win the turnover battle. Philadelphia runs into some very savvy offensive attacks early on, so this could backfire big time. The window for Overs is open, especially in the first nine weeks of action.

    Star power props: Devonta Smith, WR
    Player prop Odds to win
    Offensive Rookie of the Year +1,700
    Receiving Yards Leader +10,000
    Receiving TD Leader +10,000
    Receiving Yards Total 750.5 (Over -135)
    Best prop: Under 750.5 receiving yards (+105)

    There’s no denying the skillset Smith brings to the Eagles, but his wiry frame and durability are the major bugaboos among skeptics. And so far this summer, those doubts have merit with the Heisman winner missing camp time due to a knee sprain.

    Smith and Hurts may have been teammates briefly at Alabama but there’s a lot of work to be done in this brand-new offense. Chemistry is already limited due to the shortened exhibition schedule and any reps Smith misses puts his progress behind.

    He’ll draw the ire of opposing secondaries without any other threats commanding attention in the Philly passing game (second-year WR Jalen Reagor is the No. 2), lining up what could be a frustrating season for the No. 10 pick in the draft.

    For comparison’s sake, Julio Jones — another slender all-world Alabama WR — had 959 yards receiving in 13 games during his rookie campaign. But he had Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez softening his coverage and Matt Ryan tossing him the ball... and Hurts is no Matt Ryan.

    Trend to know

    It’s tough taking any betting trends to heart when you have such a turnover in coaching and schemes. However, home field is an advantage for Philadelphia when the cold Pennsylvania winter sets in. Under Pederson (2016 to 2020), Philadelphia was 8-3 SU and 7-4 ATS at home between Week 13 and Week 17.

    Eagles’ late-season home games

    Week 15: -1.5 vs Washington
    Week 16: -1.5 vs Giants
    Week 18: +2.5 vs Cowboys

  23. #23
    New York Giants 2021 NFL Betting Preview: Time to Shine for Danny Dimes

    The Giants' defense was sneaky good in 2020, but success in 2021 will be the result of their offense and QB Daniel Jones. Will Danny Dimes finally put it together with a new No. 1 wideout and a healthy cast? Check out our New York Giants betting preview.

    You know things are bad when New York football fans are more excited about the Jets than the Giants.

    The G-Men won six games in a down year for the division last season, the jury is still out on Daniel Jones being the franchise QB, and Saquon Barkley has all the durability of a pair of Dollar Store flip-flops.

    Thanks to an under-the-radar defense, New York was a betting bright spot at 9-5 ATS when getting the points. Can the offense do enough to keep those underdog cash-outs coming?

    Check out our 2021 New York Giants NFL betting preview.

    New York Giants futures odds
    Futures Bet Odds
    Super Bowl +10,000
    To Win Conference +50,000
    To Win Division +450
    Season Win Total O/U 7.5 (Under -120)
    To Make Playoffs Yes +220 / No -260
    Best futures bet: Under 7.5 wins (-120)

    Let’s say the Giants split their NFC East games, giving them three wins. They have four winnable home games against non-divisional foes (Denver, Atlanta, Carolina and Las Vegas) which, if split, would be five total wins. That means New York would need to squeeze three victories out of the remaining contests.

    Those leftover games feature a trip to New Orleans, a homestand versus the Rams, visits to last year’s Super Bowl teams (Chiefs and Bucs), roadies at Miami and L.A. Chargers (Weeks 13 and 14), and at Chicago… in January. The Giants are 3-7 SU on the road versus non-divisional opponents the past two seasons and if they don’t split those NFC East run-ins, at the very least, eight wins is a pipe dream.

    New York Giants betting overview

    What will win bets: Defense

    The Giants’ defense was sneaky good in 2020. New York allowed just 22.3 points per game and while the stop unit didn’t get the same shot in the arm of talent as the offense, this group will improve in Year 2 under coordinator Patrick Graham.

    The G-Men didn’t give up many home run plays, allowing only 43 passes of 20 yards or more, and ranked ninth in rushing yards allowed per carry (4.1). For one of the lighter blitzing teams in the league, New York still collected 40 sacks and a solid secondary forces passers to hang around in the pocket a little longer than they should.

    What will lose bets: Quarterback

    “Danny Dimes” is on a short leash in Year 3 for Big Blue. With the addition of 6-foot-4 WR Kenny Golladay, reliable TEs in Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph, and a healthy-ish Saquon Barkley as the ultimate checkdown, there’s no excuse for Jones to have as many mistakes as he’s had the first two years (22 INTs, completion percentage of 62, 29 fumbles).

    The offensive line allowed 50 sacks in 2020 (second-most in the NFL) and lugged a pass block win rate of 31 percent – dead last. The bulk of those bodies return for 2021 – minus Kevin Zeitler but add Joe Looney – which doesn’t bode well for Jones’ well-being. But don’t sweat Big Apple bettors, behind him is backup QB… Mike Glennon? Oh boy.

    New York Giants game-by-game odds

    The 2021 lookahead lines have the Giants set as favorites in five games this upcoming season, with five other games boasting spreads between +1 and +3. They own the 25th toughest slate (.474) in terms of strength of schedule.

    New York is getting more than a field goal in seven of its dozen games as an underdog. Six of those games come away from MetLife Stadium and in two years since Daniel Jones was drafted, the G-Men are 9-3 ATS when catching 3.5 points or more on the road, including a 5-1 ATS mark last season.

    Week Opponent Spread Total

    1 vs Denver +1 42.5

    2 @ Washington +3 43

    3 vs Atlanta -2.5 48.5

    4 @ New Orleans +5.5 47.5

    5 @ Dallas +5.5 48.5

    6 vs L.A. Rams +3.5 45.5

    7 vs Carolina -3 46.5

    8 @ Kansas City +10 49

    9 vs Las Vegas -1.5 47.5

    10 BYE

    11 @ Tampa Bay +10 50.5

    12 vs Philadelphia -3 46.5

    13 @ Miami +3.5 45.5

    14 @ L.A. Chargers +6 47

    15 vs Dallas +1 47

    16 @ Philadelphia +1.5 46

    17 @ Chicago +2 42

    18 vs Washington -1.5 42.5

    Early season forecast

    The Giants' offense gets a real workout in the first two games of 2021, hosting Denver and visiting Washington. Given how nasty those pass rushes will be, can Jones survive to see the Falcons in Week 3? The G-Men have won just one game in the opening three weeks of football over the past two seasons (2-4 ATS).

    New York kicks off the season against an AFC West foe but couldn’t even catch a break from the schedule-makers, who slotted this non-conference clash as a 4:25 p.m. ET start. This spread opened pick’em but early play against New York has bumped this line to Giants +1. New York has had big trouble in non-conference games (see trends below) and as an extra kick in the crotch, the NYG have won just two Week 1 contests since 2010 (2-9 SU/3-8 ATS).

    The Giants catch a field goal in the nation’s capital in Week 2. New York has dominated Washington for a while now, including beating up on the WFT on their own turf with a 14-7 SU record and 13-8 ATS count in D.C. over the past 21 seasons.

    The Falcons wander into the Meadowlands as 2.5-point dogs in Week 3. This game has a total of 48.5 points – one of only four Giants games in 2021 with a number of 48 or higher. Since Jones took over at QB in 2019, New York is an even 4-4 Over/Under in those games with totals of 48 or more but an intriguing 6-2 ATS when pegged with a higher O/U.

    Spot bet

    Week 6: vs L.A. Rams (+3.5)

    At first glance, you may be wondering “what gives?” when it comes to this relatively short spread with the mighty Rams visiting the Giants in Week 6. However, this is a gruesome situational spot for Los Angeles. Let us count the ways…

    Not only does L.A. have to cross the country for a 1 p.m. ET start (10 a.m. PT) but it’s playing its second straight road game (schedule spot!) off a TNF rivalry in Seattle (letdown spot!) and has an emotionally charged matchup with Matt Stafford’s former club Detroit (and former QB Jared Goff) in Week 7 (lookahead spot!).

    This spread will likely grow before Week 6 rolls around, so if you’re buying Big Blue here, wait for more points. But the bookies are definitely tipping their pitch with this 3.5-point lookahead line.

    Totals tip

    New York completed the 2020 calendar with a 3-13 Over/Under record – the top Under bet in all the land. An underrated defense and injury-thinned offense get all the credit for those low-scoring results.

    As mentioned above, oddsmakers aren’t expecting many fireworks from the Giants’ 2021 outings and have only four contests lugging totals of 48 points or higher. There are four sub-44 numbers on the board as well.

    On paper, this offense is improved. But knowing Jones’ limitations, the turnstile O-line, and Jason Garrett’s play-calling, the G-Men may keep it short and sweet. The 2020 attack produced just 36 passing plays of 20-plus yards (second-fewest) and 3,189 intended air yards from Jones (23rd). Better put the coffee on to stay awake during Giants games. Zzzzzzz…

    Star power props: Saquon Barkley, RB
    Player prop Odds to win
    Comeback Player of the Year +700
    Rushing yards leader +1,600
    Rushing yards total 1,175.5 (Over -112)
    Best prop: Under 1,175.5 rushing yards (-112)

    This prop is dependent on two things: Barkley being healthy enough to start the season and remaining healthy during the 2021 campaign. One of those things is a toss-up with Barkley’s rehab from a torn ACL progressing slowly and the other doesn’t seem probable given the running back’s injury issues the past two seasons.

    Other factors working against the Over for this prop are just how good Barkley is as a pass catcher and how poor the offensive line will be. Add to that the fact New York will be playing from behind a lot, and there’s not much room for the rush. Barkley had 1,307 yards on the ground in 16 games as a rookie and 1,003 yards in 13 games in Year 2. This current total seems like a stretch.

    Trend to know
    New York is a wretched 2-6 SU and 1-7 ATS versus AFC opponents the past two seasons. Thanks to the new 17-game schedule, the Giants get an additional non-conference fight at Miami in Week 13 on top of a four-game set versus the AFC West.

    Giants’ non-conference games

    Week 1: vs Denver +1
    Week 8: @ Kansas City +10
    Week 9: vs Las Vegas -1.5
    Week 13: @ Miami +3.5
    Week 14: @ L.A. Chargers +6

  24. #24
    Cowboys vs Steelers Hall of Fame Game Picks and Predictions: (Preseason) Football is Back

    The NFL season begins on Thursday with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton. While the stars may sit out, we've still got plenty of betting action. Check out our full picks and predictions as the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers clash in the annual game.

    There are certain types of football bettors who get down on the NFL preseason: sharps, the informed, and football-starved action junkies.

    Those folks get their first taste of exhibition pigskin in two years with the NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers.

    The chaos and unpredictability of the preseason levels the playing field between books and bettors, and is a rare time in which coaches will openly tell you what they’re going to do and who’s going to it. You just have to listen.

    Here are our free NFL betting picks and predictions for Cowboys vs. Steelers in the 2021 Hall of Fame Game.

    Cowboys vs Steelers game info
    • Location: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, OH
    • Date: Thursday, August 5, 2021
    • Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
    • TV: FOX

    Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers betting preview

    Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium

    76.77 °F
    Humidity: 55 %
    Wind: 3.15 mph
    P.O.P.: 1 %

    Hourly Forecast

    Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NFL weather info.

    Key injuries
    Cowboys: Dak Prescott QB (Out), Mitch Hyatt OT (Out).
    Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger QB (Out), Demarcus Christmas DT (Out).
    Find our latest NFL injury reports.

    Betting trend to know

    The Steelers are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 preseason games (2017 to 2019). Find more NFL betting trends for Cowboys vs. Steelers.

    Against the spread (ATS) pick

    Step No. 1 in betting preseason football is to know who the quarterbacks are, and not just the QB1s. You’ve got to look way down the depth chart to see which randoms will be under center in the fourth quarter.

    As with most Hall of Fame Games, don’t expect to see many – if any – first-stringers. You sure as hell aren’t going to see Dak Prescott or Ben Roethlisberger out there on Thursday.

    Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin has said he’s starting with Mason Rudolph and will play Dwayne Haskins at least a few minutes to end the first half. That leaves mop-up duty to Josh Dobbs in the final 30 minutes. Rudolph is by far the best QB on the field, with nine regular season starts under his belt in just two years.

    The Cowboys need to take a long look at their backups, given Prescott’s tender ankle entering 2021. McCarthy hasn’t announced his QB rotation for Thursday as of this writing but if reps and buzz out of camp are any indications, Garrett Gilbert - who showed flashes of brilliance in a lone November start versus the Steelers (funnily enough) last season - could be the starter. Cooper Rush and Ben DiNucci are also duking it out for second-team reps at camp and will likely see plenty of snaps in the first and second half versus Pittsburgh.

    The X-factor for this matchup – at least in the first half - could be Steelers’ rookie RB Najee Harris, who is expected to play Thursday as well as in Pittsburgh’s other three preseason tilts. The Alabama product was the 24th pick in the draft and does damage on the ground and through the air. He and third-stringer Anthony McFarland Jr., who has impressed in camp, have an opportunity for plenty of touches with fellow RB Benny Snell Jr. nursing an injury.

    While Tomlin is encouraging exhibition work for some of his youngsters and backups, McCarthy is playing it cool after training camp was littered with injuries. The former Green Bay head coach was 27-25 SU and 27-22-3 ATS in preseason games with the Packers (2006 to 2018) while Tomlin owns a 31-23 SU record and 25-27-2 ATS count in tune-up tilts since taking over the reins in Pittsburgh back in 2007.

    PREDICTION: Steelers -1.5 (-110)

    The total for the Hall of Fame Game opened at 34 and has dropped to 33 points, given six of the eight HoF Games since 2010 (three were canceled) have played Under the number. Like way Under.

    Participating teams have combined to score an average of just 23.25 points in those games versus an average closing total of 35.06, leaving lots of headroom for those taking the Under.

    While preseason trends are about as reliable as your drunken buddy’s promise to drive you to the airport in the morning, there is something said for the quality of offense versus defense in these early exhibitions.

    Successful scoring attacks need timing and chemistry – something that’s not there in August and definitely not easy to come by when coaches are constantly plugging in second, third and fourth-string players. Defense is a much more instinctual part of the game, reading and reacting.

    The point production can take a tumble in the second half of the Hall of Fame Game, when teams reach down into the Midnight Zone of the depth chart. An average of 12.5 points per second half has been scored since 2010, including 10 or fewer second-half points in four of those contests.

    There could be some flash in the first half, with Rudolph and Haskins slinging it and Dallas going pass-heavy to get a good look at their QB2 options, but expect an unwatchable second half of Hall of Fame Game football.

    PREDICTION: Under 33 (-110)

    Cowboys vs Steelers betting card
    Steelers -1.5 (-110)
    Under 33 (-110)
    Picks made on 8/4/2021 at 3:00 p.m. ET

  25. #25
    NFL Power Rankings: Don't Rhule Out a Bounce Back For Darnold in Carolina

    Adam Chernoff reveals his NFL preseason power rankings, one team at a time — starting with the worst teams in the league and moving towards the cream of the crop.

    Power rankings are an important part of NFL betting, used not only by bettors but also by bookmakers when setting NFL odds. They're also a great way to prepare for an upcoming season, and with kickoff just over a month away, Adam Chernoff is ready to reveal his preseason rankings.

    A new team will be revealed each day as we get closer to the season opener. Listen to a full audio analysis of each team on The Simple Handicap podcast or check back here every day for a written version.

    NFL power rankings

    After a ghostly end to his Jets tenure, former third-overall pick Sam Darnold looks for redemption with Matt Rhule and Joe Brady in Carolina. He'll have the best collection of weapons ever at his disposal — but will he actually prove he's a legitimate starting quarterback? (Team rating in parentheses).

    25. Carolina Panthers (32)
    26. Philadelphia Eagles (30)
    27. New York Giants (30)
    28. Jacksonville Jaguars (28)
    29. Cincinnati Bengals (27)
    30. New York Jets (25)
    31. Detroit Lions (20)
    32. Houston Texans (15)

    25. Carolina Panthers
    Rating: 32

    Win total: 6.5 (Over -111)

    My ratings will always skew well-coached teams higher in situations where roster talent is similar.

    The Carolina Panthers are rated higher than the Eagles, Giants, Bengals, and Jaguars because the coaching staff is superior — even though the roster makeup and talent level are not. Unlike other teams within this lower tier of the league, I look at the Panthers as a team that can grow and has some leeway.

    This is not a team where everything must go right for seventeen games to hit the Over on the win total. Sam Darnold will be the biggest question mark, but there is reason for optimism. There is enough data and reason to believe that Adam Gase is an anchor for any QB that plays within his system. In addition to never supporting Darnold with coaching, the Jets failed to give him playmakers either.

    Jamison Crowder, Braxton Berrios, Breshad Perriman, and Frank Gore are a far cry from Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Terrance Marshall, who will support Darnold this season.

    There is also reason to believe that Darnold will never pan out as a pro quarterback. Ranking 38th of 39 qualified starters throwing from a clean pocket in 2020 is one of several concerning data points, but putting him with Joe Brady and these weapons could be exactly what is needed to get him to an (at least) average NFL starter.

    If first-round draft pick Jaycee Horn pans out in the secondary, the Panthers could quietly field a sneaky-good defense too. The front seven is projected to be a Top-10 unit entering the season and just an extra bit of support in the back end could be all that is needed to make this a Top-3 overall unit in the league.

    That extra defensive support will go a long way for the Panthers, who face the eighth-most difficult schedule of opposing offenses in 2021 and will likely have a slow start putting points on the scoreboard with Darnold entering the new system.

    Bet the Under:

    The disappointment we saw from Darnold in New York might just be who he ultimately is

    One of the worst offensive lines in the league will give a new QB little support

    All three division opponents improved and facing a very difficult schedule overall

    Bet the Over:

    One of the most underrated coaching units in the league that can get a lot out of this roster

    Terrific skill position players to support Darnold in the offensive system

    Quietly projected to have a Top-10 secondary

    26. Philadelphia Eagles
    Rating: 30

    Win total: 6.5 (Over -154)

    The Philadelphia Eagles are the team that will consistently sound better than they are.

    The roster is filled with household names and young explosive talent on both sides of the football: playmakers like Miles Sanders, Devonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Dallas Goedert, and Zach Ertz. Defensive forces like Nick Barnett, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham, and Darius Slay. The name value is all there.

    The three things that are not there? Coaching staff, quarterback, and depth.

    The trio of Nick Sirianni, Shane Steichen, and Jonathan Gannon sounds great... but there is a ton of uncertainty. In his time with Indianapolis, Sirianni never called offensive plays — despite being the offensive coordinator. Now he oversees the entire playbook for this young roster.

    Steichen rose from obscurity to stardom with the Chargers after one season of inheriting Justin Herbert and now he takes a big step back to a much different style quarterback in Jalen Hurts, while Gannon is one of the most underrated coaches in all of football but now takes over one of the three worst secondaries in the league.

    How quickly can all three of these guys find answers, if at all? Hurts ranked dead last of 38 qualifying quarterbacks in completion percentage above expectation in 2020 and consistently put the ball in harm's way. How can anyone be certain this is the QB of the future? As for the roster, it features some great names in starting roles.

    However, move to the second-string options and the talent level falls off a cliff. It is not going to take an injury-decimated season like the one Philly experienced in 2020 to derail this roster. This team is going to have to find a way to stay healthy the entire season because the depth chart is extremely thin.

    The Eagles face one of the easiest schedules in the NFL so there is room for optimism, but there are too many things that can go wrong to rank them any higher.

    Bet the Under:

    Three new coaches, in new roles, making the adjustment to work with a much different system than they are used to

    Jalen Hurts ranked among the worst quarterbacks in the NFL last season in accuracy metrics

    One of the worst secondaries in the league

    Bet the Over:

    Strong in both sides of the trenches, which can go a long way in accelerating the growth of a team

    They face one of the five easiest schedules in 2021

    Also: check out Jason Logan's Eagles season betting preview.

    27. New York Giants
    Rating: 30

    Win total: 7.5 (Under -149)

    It is a bit weird to think about... but do the New York Giants have the second-best quarterback in the NFC East?

    Everyone is raving over the Washington Football Team, but Ryan Fitzpatrick was only starting in Miami because he was better than Tua Tagovailoa — not exactly a high bar. Jalen Hurts completed just 52 percent of his passes in his starts last year. Dak Prescott is back, and takes the top rank, but Jones as second is a fair argument to make.

    This season he is surrounded with a (hopefully) healthy Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Kenny Golladay... this has the potential to be a Top-15 offense. The defense is built the right way — back to front — with Adoree Jackson, Logan Ryan, Jabril Peppers, and James Bradberry making up what could be a Top-10 secondary. The pieces are there... But is the sideline support?

    The Giants are going to have to find a way to win despite their coaching staff. The combination of Joe Judge/Jason Garrett in 2020 left far more questions than answers and already in the preseason, they seem unable to wrangle the team. The schedule does the Giants few favors, as they face the 10th-most difficult schedule in the league.

    It is a big if, but, if the coaching staff can stay out of their way, the Giants have the pieces to contend in a weak NFC East.

    Bet the Under:

    The coaching staff: it is extremely difficult to tie money up with Judge/Garrett long term

    The offensive line is projected to be one of the five worst in the league

    Bet the Over:

    Strong skill position players across the entire offense, highlighted by the addition of Kenny Golladay

    Reinforced the secondary in the offseason, giving it the potential to be a Top-10 unit

    Also: check out Jason Logan's Giants season betting preview.

    28. Jacksonville Jaguars
    Rating: 28

    Win total: 6.5 (Under -120)

    There are a lot of symmetries between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Bengals entering 2021. Jacksonville gets the slightest rating bump by virtue of an easier strength of schedule. Cincinnati plays in the most difficult division in football, while Jacksonville finds itself in one of the weakest. Overall they are slated to face the fourth easiest schedule in the league, with the most favorable stretch at the beginning of the year from Weeks 1-6, when the Jags are favored or, at worst, 2.5-point underdogs in each game.

    The weakness of the Jags is defense, which catches a break in the early season. They open against Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater — neither of whom are poised to threaten deep downfield — but it ultimately will be the offense that will propel this team close to its win total.

    Trevor Lawrence is as sure of a prospect that we have seen since Andrew Luck, while Travis Etienne and James Robinson form one of the best young backfield duos in the league. Plus D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones, and Laviska Shenault are three great fits for new head coach Urban Meyer's spread offense.

    Although both sides of the trenches need improving, if Lawrence can use his mobility, it can ease the pressure that will inevitably be allowed off the edge. The team has a ton of weapons and a lot of promise inside of a weak division.

    If the defense can improve and just play near league average, the Jags could be a 7-8 win team.

    Bet the Under:

    New and unproven coaching staff

    The worst secondary in 2020 did little to improve in 2021

    Two of the worst tackles on the offensive line

    Bet the Over:

    Extremely talented weapons around a highly regarded prospect at QB

    One of the five easiest schedules in NFL

    Divisional opponents all taking a step back

    29. Cincinnati Bengals
    Rating: 27

    Win total: 6.5 (Under -118)

    This is it for Zac Taylor. The third-year head coach is arguably the worst in the NFL, but this season he has no excuse. Joe Burrow is back - and healthy. The receiving group is loaded with the addition of first-rounder Ja'Marr Chase to the duo of Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. In the backfield, Joe Mixon is healthy coming into the season and set to be the feature back.

    Everything across the board is set for this offense to succeed. It all comes down to two things: Can Taylor nail the play calling, and how long will the offensive line hold up?

    Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line was among the worst in the league, and this season it is set to be no better. The prospect of Burrow coming off a devastating injury and frequently being in the line of fire could be a huge concern. The gamble was made clear. The team had the chance to draft the top offensive line prospect in Penei Sewell but elected to take Chase and continue to load up on weapons. With everyone in place, it is all on Taylor to take advantage.

    The neglect to the trenches existed on the other side of the line too. During the draft and offseason, they provided no help to the front seven. The pass rush for Cincinnati is nonexistent and projects to be a bottom-five unit in 2021. With a below-average secondary behind a lack of pass rush, pressure will be on the offense to find the scoreboard consistently. The positive outlook is driven by the potential offensive output, but against the fifth most difficult projected schedule in the league, it is difficult to see the Bengals consistently scoring enough to be much else than a 6- or 7-win team.

    Bet the Under:

    Playing in the most difficult division in football and the fifth most difficult schedule overall

    No improvements to either side of the trenches with huge weaknesses on the OL and DL

    Bet the Over:

    Burrow and the receiving group is one of the best offensive units in the league

    Mixon as the feature back gives Zac Taylor every option needed to succeed with play-calling

    30. New York Jets
    Rating: 25

    Win total: 6 (Under -125)

    It is so easy to chalk up doubt just because "it's the New York Jets" but this season feels different. Robert Saleh comes from a successful tenure working under Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco and excels in getting the most effort out of young players — of which the Jets have plenty.

    Mike Lafleur is in at offensive coordinator and brings with him a West Coast passing scheme which bodes well for taking the burden off a rookie QB. Jeff Ulbrich is in place on the defensive side to install a classic Seattle Cover 3 unit. Sam Darnold is out, and second-overall pick Zach Wilson steps in with a few new offensive weapons around him. There is a reason for optimism!

    Rather than the downside falling on the coaching and personnel, it most likely falls in a lack of talent — or being one year early. Even with the addition of Corey Davis, the Jets are still missing a bonafide number one receiver. The middle of the offensive line has a lot of uncertainty, which is where Wilson will need it most.

    As much success as Saleh has had with the San Francisco defense, the Jets are without the strong physical corners needed to make the scheme work.

    Bet the Under:

    Missing key personnel for the specific offensive and defensive schemes that the new coaching staff will implement

    Offensive line issues could magnify the growing pains for a rookie QB

    Secondary did not improve in the offseason

    Bet the Over:

    Saleh is a terrific head coach to run a team with as many young players as the Jets

    Above-average ease of projected schedule on both sides of the ball

    31. Detroit Lions
    Rating: 20

    Win total: 5 (Under -115)

    It is difficult to envision a scenario where the Detroit Lions can overcome the amount of talent they lost in the offseason. Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, and Marvin Jones are all gone. In their place steps Jared Goff, Tyrell Williams, and Breshad Perriman. Where is the offensive output going to come from!?

    Goff on his own feels like a disaster waiting to happen. Throughout the duration of his career he relied heavily on Sean McVay to do the play calling and reading of opposing defenses for him. McVay is one of the most tactically sound coaches in the league and was able to shoulder the burden to get the most out of Goff for four season. It is unlikely that new Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will be able to assist Goff in the same manner McVay did — considering the endless criticism of his in-game decision making.

    Is new head coach and ultimate "football guy" Dan Campbell the right person to get the most out of this patched together roster? Based on quotes and pressers to date, every sign points to no. If there is reason for optimism it can be found in the trenches. Decker, Ragnow, and Sewell make up a top ten offensive line to give Goff time to throw and Swift room to run. The return of Trey Flowers and additions to the interior of the front seven should bring the Lions pass rush up to league average, which is a huge improvement on seasons past. But how much will the talent up front on both sides be wasted by a lack of talent at skill positions?

    Bet the Under:

    New head coach, offensive and defensive coordinator all ranked in the bottom five respectively

    Goff, Perriman, and Williams are no replacement for Stafford, Golladay, and Jones

    Goff without McVay is an enormous concern moving forward

    Bet the Over:

    Strong offensive line play can give Goff enough time and mask some issues at the skill positions

    Goff playing all home games in a dome benefits his ability to throw downfield when protected

    The betting market is likely discrediting the team for how poorly it was defensively in 2020 — it will be improved overall in 2021

    32. Houston Texans
    Rating: 15

    Win total: 4.5 (Under -163)

    This is baffling. After four weeks last season, the Houston Texans gave their fan base what they wanted — fire Bill O’Brien! The talented roster was free from the all-ruling GM and head coach at last. Fast forward to training camp this season and the Texans are in another unimaginable situation.

    Deshaun Watson’s allegation laden offseason will either keep him off the field in 2021 or land him in an inevitable trade situation. The new GM Nick Caserio signed 36 veterans to deals resulting in 70% roster turnover. There were no improvements made to the defense that struggled in 2020 either. Lovie Smith is in as defensive coordinator and has immediately made changes. The 3-4 base unit led by J. J. Watt is no more. In its place is a 4-3 base that features 13 recent roster additions competing for time in six of the front seven positions. The secondary stays intact from 2020, but even that is not a sign for optimism as the Texans finished 30th in pass success rate defense and face one of the three most difficult projected schedules in 2021.

    Houston has a bevy of talented running backs, but how much will they contribute? The team is an underdog in all 17 games this season and will not keep opponents off the scoreboard. If the Texans are constantly trailing and cannot stop the run, when will they have time to keep the ball on the ground? David Culley and Tyrod Taylor made the playoffs with a weak roster in 2017, but just winning five or six games this season seems like a stretch.

    Bet the Under:

    70% roster turnover between 2020-21

    Likely loss of Watson is irreplaceable

    No improvements to a terrible defense

    Bet the Over:

    Six games against AFC South teams, all of which have big question marks of their own

    David Culley and Tyrod Taylor did take a below-average roster to playoffs in 2017

  26. #26
    Friday’s Den: Trends for AFC teams

    — Last six years, they’re 1-3 in playoff games.
    — Won/covered last five season openers
    — Since 2013, they’re 7-3 ATS as home underdogs.
    — Last four years, they’re 9-1-2 ATS as road underdogs.

    — Last two years, they’re 23-9 SU, their only consecutive winning seasons in last 20 years.
    — Last three years, they’re 10-4-2 ATS as road underdogs.
    — Last four years , they’re 11-4-2 ATS on natural grass.
    — Bills are 10-2-1 ATS in last 13 games where spread was 3 or less points.

    — Last 20 years, they’re 0-7 in playoff games.
    — Last five years, they’re 25-53-2 SU
    — Last five years, they’re 9-13 ATS coming off a win.
    — Bengals were favored twice in last 16 home games.

    — Last years was their first winning season since 2007.
    — Since 2013, they’re 2-9 ATS as road favorites.
    — Browns are 15-34-1 ATS in last 50 games coming off a loss.
    — Last six years, they’re 9-15 ATS vs NFC teams.

    — Won Super Bowl after 2015 season; they’re 32-48 since then.
    — Last four years, they’re 3-8-2 ATS as home favorites.
    — Since 2016, Denver is 10-18-2 ATS vs AFC West opponents.
    — Last four years, Broncos are 9-13 ATS coming off a win.

    — Were over .500 in 5 of O’Brien’s 7 years as head coach.
    — Last four years, they’re 8-14 ATS as home favorites.
    — Last eight years, they’re 9-14-1 ATS in AFC South home games.
    — Last ten years, Texans are 4-6 in playoff games.

    — Wentz figures to be their 4th #1 QB the last four years.
    — Last four years, Colts are 13-2-1 ATS as favorites of 3 or less points.
    — Last four years, Colts are 2-7-1 as underdogs of 3 or less points.
    — Last three years, Indy is 9-2-1 ATS vs. NFC opponents.

    — Finished over .500 once in last 13 years.
    — Last three years, Jaguars are 7-12-2 ATS as road underdogs.
    — Last nine years, they’re 8-28 ATS vs NFC opponents.
    — Last four years, they’re 8-13 ATS coming off a win.

    — Last six years, KC is 71-25 in regular season, 7-5 in playoffs.
    — Last eight years, Chiefs are 18-6 ATS in AFC West road games.
    — KC is 5-10 ATS last 15 times they were double digit favorites.
    — Last five years, Chiefs are 12-7 ATS coming off a loss.

    — Last 18 years, Raiders are 0-1 in playoff games (2016)
    — Last three years, Raiders are 19-29 SU under Gruden.
    — They’re 8-4 ATS in last dozen AFC West home games.
    — Last four years, Raiders are combined minus-34 in turnovers.

    — Chargers made playoffs twice in last 11 years.
    — Last three years, they’re 3-13-1 ATS as home favorites
    — They’re 1-8-2 ATS in last 11 games with spread of 3 or fewer points.
    — Last 10 years, Chargers are 7-22-1 ATS in AFC West home games.

    — Last 20 years, Miami is 0-3 in playoff games.
    — Last four years, Dolphins are 18-10-3 ATS at home.
    — Miami is 14-29 ATS in last 43 games on artificial turf.
    — Last two years, they’re 11-5 ATS coming off a loss.

    — Under Belichick, they’re 47-23-2 ATS as an underdog.
    — NE was +3 in turnovers LY, +31 the previous two years.
    — Since 2013, they’re 35-19-3 ATS as a home favorite.
    — 2-7 ATS last nine games as favorites of 3 or fewer points.

    — Last time they made playoffs: 2010 under Rex Ryan.
    — Last five years, Jets are 13-25-2 ATS on the road.
    — Last three years, Jets are 12-21 ATS coming off a loss.
    — Underdogs are 17-7 ATS in their last 24 AFC home tilts.

    — Steelers’ last losing season: 2003 (four .500 years since then)
    — Last time they won a playoff game: 2017.
    — Last three years, they’re 18-10 ATS coming off a win.
    — Steelers covered 13 of last 16 games as an underdog.

    — Tennessee was over .500 last five years, 3-3 in playoffs.
    — Last five years, Titans are 20-11-1 ATS coming off a loss.
    — Last two years, they’re #2/#3 in rushing yardage, +16 in turnovers.
    — Vrabel is 12-14 ATS as a favorite, 11-8 as an underdog.

  27. #27
    Tuesday’s Den: Trends for NFL preseason games……..

    There were no preseason games last year, so these trends are for 2018-19; as always, caution is advised when wagering on preseason/exhibition games.

    Remember, only three weeks of preseason games from now on…….

    13) Last two years, Baltimore Ravens are 9-0 SU/7-2 ATS in preseason

    12) Underdogs covered Colts’ last seven preseason games (0-4 as F, 3-0 as U)

    11) Under is 7-1 in Jets’ last eight preseason games.

    10) Falcons are 1-8 SU/ATS in last two preseasons, 1-6 ATS as an underdog.

    9) Buffalo covered its last four preseason road games; over is 6-2 in their last eight preseason games.

    8) Steelers won/covered six of last eight exhibition games (4-0 ATS at home)

    7) Tennessee is 2-6 SU in last eight preseason games (0-4 ATS as home favorites)

    6) Under is 6-2 in last eight preseason games for both Rams and Cardinals.

    5) Raiders are 6-2 SU last two preseasons; 3-0 ATS as home favorites, 3-0 ATS as road dogs.

    4) Detroit is 1-7 SU/2-6 ATS last two summers (over 6-2).

    3) Eagles are 2-6 in last eight exhibitions, 0-2 ATS when favored.

    2) Giants averaged 32.3 ppg in their last preseason, scoring 31+ every game.

    1) Underdogs were 6-2 ATS in Bengals’ last eight preseason games.

  28. #28
    Monday’s Den: Quick Thoughts/Notes on NFL’s Week 1 games:

    — Main question for Dallas is the health of QB Prescott’s shoulder.
    — Last 18 years, defending Super Bowl champs are 11-4-3 ATS in Week 1 the next year.

    — Both head coaches in this game are first-time head coaches.
    — Eagles’ QB is 2nd year QB Hurts (1-3 as starter); Falcons’ is Matt Ryan (113-92)

    — Buffalo split its last six home openers, after an 0-13 skid.
    — Should be split crowd, tough day for security guys.

    — Klint Kubiak is Minnesota’s 6th offensive coordinator in six years.
    — Burrow hasn’t played in preseason; he got hurt November 22. Is he healthy yet?

    — How long until rookie QB Lance takes over at QB?
    — New QB, new coach, new GM; they’re going to run ball more.

    — Lost 4 of last 5 road openers; how much will JJ Watt help the defense?
    — Titans added WR Julio Jones to spruce up offense; HC Vrabel has COVID

    — Seattle is 3rd betting choice in NFC West, which is ludicrous/absurd.
    — If he is healthy, Wentz will be Colts’ 4th #1 QB the last four years.

    — Will Staley’s defense be as sturdy now that he is a head coach?
    — QB Fitzpatrick will be starting for an NFL-record 9th team.

    — New coach, rookie QB, opener on road; not a great scenario.
    — Carolina QB Darnold faces his old team in this game.

    — Meyer is 0-0 as an NFL HC, 187-32 as a college coach.
    — Culley is 0-0 as a HC anywhere; he was an OC once, at UTEP in 1990.

    — Browns are 1-8 SU last nine road openers (3-5-1 ATS); last five stayed under total.
    — Teams that lost Super Bowl are 4-14 ATS in Week 1 the next year; Chiefs have won, covered last four home openers.

    — Jacoby Brissett (12-20 as starter) is solid backup for 2nd year QB Tagovailoa (6-3).
    — New England had #1 net punting average in NFL last season.

    — Over is 12-3 in Green Bay’s last fifteen road openers.
    — Who is the new QB? Are Hill/Winston both going to play?

    — Denver is 32-48 since Peyton Manning left; who is this year’s QB?
    — Giants are 10-22 since Eli Manning left; Glennon is a solid backup to Jones.

    — QB Dalton will start in Week 1; how long before rookie Fields takes over?
    — Stafford is new QB; new DC, new special teams coach. WRs are improved, defense figures to take a step back.

    — Baltimore won/covered its last five season openers.
    — First game at Allegiant Stadium with fans;

  29. #29
    NFL Week 1 odds, picks: Kyler Murray and the Cardinals provide strong value in opener vs. Titans
    Here's an early look at the opening slate of the 2021 regular season

    The last week of the preseason is here and before you know it we'll be off to the races with the start of the 2021 regular season. While we're still a few weeks away from the Sept. 9 opener between the Cowboys and Bucs, it's never too early to take a look at the Week 1 slate and begin formulating our picks. Here, I'll comb through a handful of games that especially catch my eye and also give my early leans for the entire opening weekend in the NFL.

    Of course, these picks are subject to change as we get closer to Week 1 and are merely where I'm leaning at the moment prior to the exhibition season coming to a close. Nevertheless, there's some pretty solid value on the board right now, which we'll cover.

    All NFL odds via Caesars Sportsbook.

    49ers at Lions
    Latest Odds:
    San Francisco 49ers -7.5
    Powered by Caesars Sportsbook
    I do think we forget about the San Francisco 49ers a little bit when talking about the powerhouses in the NFC. That could be thanks to a looming quarterback change from Jimmy Garoppolo to rookie Trey Lance, but that shouldn't overshadow how solid of a team this is from top to bottom. More importantly, the Niners are healthy, which is something that you couldn't say for the bulk of last year.

    That defense -- led by Nick Bosa and Fred Warner -- should have no problem going on the road and handling a Lions team that is not only entering 2021 with a new head coach in Dan Campbell and a new quarterback in Jared Goff, but they're also a little dinged up. Both running back D'Andre Swift and tight end T.J. Hockenson have been dealing with injuries this summer. Even if they are ready for the opener, it doesn't look like they'll be 100%. Those two are expected to be key cogs in Detroit's offense this season, so with them limited in Week 1, it's shaping up to be a long day for the Lions.

    San Francisco also has played well historically to begin the year. The team is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games in Week 1 and is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games in September.

    Projected score: 49ers 28, Lions 17
    The pick: 49ers -7.5

    Broncos at Giants
    Latest Odds:
    Denver Broncos -1.5
    Powered by Caesars Sportsbook
    It'll be Teddy Bridgewater under center for the Broncos in the opener after the team recently named him the starting quarterback for Week 1 after beating out Drew Lock this summer. Denver has a ton of weapons offensively that Bridgewater can lean on and should prove to be a unit that's tough to contain, especially if the veteran quarterback is as efficient as he was during the preseason. Through two contests, Bridgewater completed 16 of his 19 passes for 179 yards two touchdowns.

    Not only does Bridgewater's ascension to QB1 bring promise to the Broncos, but it's also an encouraging sign for bettors. For his career, Bridgewater has been otherworldy to those who lean on him, owning a 35-14 ATS record in his starts. To look at it even deeper and link it to the opener at MetLife Stadium, Bridgewater is 21-3 ATS when he plays on the road. That's enough to have anyone blindly throw a few shekels on Denver here. It also doesn't hurt that New York is 0-4 ATS in their last four games in Week 1 and likely won't have a few key pieces to its offense (Saquon Barkley, Kadarius Toney, and Kenny Golladay) 100% healthy for this matchup.

    Projected score: Broncos 24, Giants 17
    The pick: Broncos -1.5

    Bears at Rams
    Latest Odds:
    Los Angeles Rams -7.5
    Powered by Caesars Sportsbook
    Bears head coach Matt Nagy is insistent that Andy Dalton will get the start in the opener against Los Angeles, despite the promise that first-round rookie Justin Fields has shown over the summer. That could, in part, be due to Chicago not wanting to expose its young quarterback to the lethal Rams defense right out of the gate, simply feeding Dalton to the wolves. L.A. continued to be one of the league's better defenses last year, ranking fourth in DVOA, and should once again be a unit that has the ability to completely wreck a game. The Bears offensive line also has looked a bit suspect throughout periods of the preseason, which only adds more confidence towards Aaron Donald's club. Meanwhile, the Rams are about to unwrap their new high-powered offense led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, who the team acquired this offseason. Given the Bears' limited ceiling offensively under Dalton and against this L.A. defense, Chicago could be left in the dust pretty quickly in this one.

    Of course, there's also a Sean McVay factor here as well as he routinely has his teams well-prepared on a weekly basis, but especially when he has more time to prepare. Throughout his previous four years as the Rams head coach, McVay is 4-0 ATS in Week 1.

    Projected score: Rams 30, Bears 20
    The pick: Rams -7.5

    Browns at Chiefs
    Latest Odds:
    Kansas City Chiefs -6
    Powered by Caesars Sportsbook
    The Cleveland Browns are a team that could very well take a leap in 2021. After making the playoffs last season and advancing to the Divisional Round, the team went out this offseason and added a number of players that should only improve the club as a whole. Also, Year 2 under head coach Kevin Stefanski should bring even more stability to the organization. That said, it's tough to look away from the Chiefs here. They are looking to rebound from a loss in Super Bowl LV and will do so with an entirely revamped offensive line. If that new collection of linemen -- headlined by guard Joe Thuney and tackle Orlando Brown -- can keep Patrick Mahomes upright, they should be able to keep a touchdown distance over the Browns.

    K.C. is another club that routinely begins the year off strong. Not only are they 4-0 ATS in their last four Week 1 contests, but they are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games in September.

    Projected score: Chiefs 28, Browns 21
    The pick: Chiefs -6

    Cardinals at Titans
    Latest Odds:
    Arizona Cardinals +3
    Powered by Caesars Sportsbook
    The Cardinals are my upset pick on the Week 1 slate. The Titans are poised to be players in the AFC playoff race again this season, but I'm not so sure what they'll look like out of the gate. Both receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones have been missing time in practice due to injury, which means they may not be a full-go in the opener. If that's the case, Ryan Tannehill's weapons in the passing game become extremely limited and will likely need Derrick Henry to have a monster outing to help bail them out. While Tennessee did add the likes of Bud Dupree to help its defense, it remains to be seen how much the pass rusher -- who tore his ACL in Week 12 last season -- will be able to truly impact the unit from the jump. In 2020, the Titans ranked as the fourth-worst defense in the NFL in DVOA. Even if they marginally improve, they'd still be in the bottom half of the league. The Titans also don't have the best track record to begin the year, owning a 1-4 ATS mark in their past five Week 1 contests. In their last six games in September, they are 1-5 ATS.

    Given all those factors, it's easy for me to fade Tennessee at the moment. As long as the Cardinals -- who are 4-0 ATS against the Titans in their last four meetings -- don't choke it away, they have the talent on both sides of the ball to not only cover but possibly win outright.

    Projected score: Cardinals 27, Titans 24
    The pick: Cardinals +3

    Rest of the bunch
    Cowboys at Buccaneers
    Projected score: Buccaneers 30, Cowboys 20
    My pick: Buccaneers -7.5

    Eagles at Falcons
    Projected score: Falcons 24, Eagles 20
    My pick: Falcons -3.5

    Steelers at Bills
    Projected score: Bills 27, Steelers 21
    My pick: Steelers +7

    Vikings at Bengals
    Projected score: Vikings 30, Bengals 27
    My pick: Bengals +3.5

    Seahawks at Colts
    Projected score: Seahawks 27, Colts 17
    My pick: Seahawks -1

    Chargers at Washington
    Projected score: Chargers 24, Washington 21
    My pick: Chargers -1.5

    Jets at Panthers
    Projected score: Panthers 27, Jets 17
    My pick: Panthers -4.5

    Jaguars at Texans
    Projected score: Jaguars 24, Texans 20
    My pick: Jaguars -3

    Dolphins at Patriots
    Projected score: Patriots 23, Dolphins 20
    My pick: Patriots -2.5

    Packers at Saints
    Projected score: Packers 33, Saints 24
    My pick: Packers -3

    Ravens at Raiders
    Projected score: Ravens 28, Raiders 21
    My pick: Ravens -4

  30. #30
    NFL free agency 2021: Cam Newton, Todd Gurley highlight 11 big names still available on open market

    Newton leads a high-profile list of free agents that remain unsigned

    The NFL season is just under a week away, with teams finalizing their initial 53-man rosters ahead of their season openers. As a new wave of free agency hits, veteran players find themselves on the open market in favor of young talent -- joining other veterans who are still looking for a job.

    Some of these players will find work sooner rather than later, even if most of the high-profile free agents are in their 30s. These players may be on the backend of their careers, but they still have some gas left in the tank to contribute to an NFL roster in 2021.

    Of the high profile free agents, here are the most notable as the season approaches:

    Cam Newton (32)

    Newton, recently released by the New England Patriots earlier this week, is the top free agent in the league. The 2015 NFL MVP has thrown for 31,698 yards and 190 touchdowns in his career while rushing for 5,398 yards and 70 touchdowns -- the latter of which are the most for a quarterback in league history.

    The only signal-caller to reach double-digit touchdowns in three separate seasons, Newton can still run with the best of them. Newton led the league with 12 rushing touchdowns in 2020, even though he ranked 34th out of 35 qualified quarterbacks in touchdown percentage (2.2) and 21st in yards per attempt (7.2).

    If Newton wants to be a backup, he won't be unemployed for long. But all the starting quarterback jobs are filled -- for now.

    Adrian Peterson (36)

    One of the best running backs remaining in free agency, Peterson still has plans to play a 15th season, even if he hasn't found a new team yet. He was productive in 2020, rushing for 604 yards on 156 carries and seven touchdowns in 16 games for the Detroit Lions at the age of 35.

    Peterson has 14,820 career rushing yards, leaving him just 450 yards short of passing Barry Sanders for fourth on the all-time list. His 118 rushing touchdowns are fourth in league history, just six away from passing Marcus Allen for third (123). He has the most 50-yard touchdown runs (16) and 60-yard touchdown runs (15) in NFL history. He's tied with Chris Johnson for the most 70-yard touchdown runs in NFL history (seven).

    Peterson holds the NFL record for rushing yards in a game with 296, one of six 200-yard rushing games in his career (tied with O.J. Simpson for the most in league history). His eight 1,000-yard seasons are tied for sixth-most in NFL history, and his eight seasons of 10-plus rushing touchdowns are tied with Emmitt Smith for second-most in league history.

    Mitchell Schwartz (32)

    One of the underrated tackles in the NFL for years, Schwartz is still a free agent after playing just six games last season because of a back injury. Schwartz has contemplated retirement, but has been rehabbing in hopes of a comeback.

    Schwartz has allowed just eight sacks in his last 2,269 pass-blocking snaps (54 games) dating back to 2017. The former first-team All-Pro selection could be an option for Kansas City, even if the Chiefs have depth at tackle entering the year.

    Richard Sherman (33)

    Sherman was one of the top free agent cornerbacks available prior to an arrest in July. The former All-Pro cornerback was charged with five misdemeanors -- including driving under the influence, endangering roadway workers, resisting arrest and domestic-violence-related counts of malicious mischief and criminal trespass. Sherman can sign with any team but may face discipline from the league.

    Sherman spent the past three years with the San Francisco 49ers before becoming a free agent this offseason. With the 49ers, Sherman made second-team All-Pro and his fifth Pro Bowl appearance in 2019 as San Francisco made it all the way to Super Bowl LIV.

    Sherman is best remembered for his time as one of the captains of the "Legion of Boom" during his seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. The elite defensive unit even led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl XLVIII win over the Denver Broncos to cap the 2013 campaign. A member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team, Sherman has been selected as a first-team All-Pro three times in his career.

    Sherman -- limited to just five games last season with a calf injury -- allowed just a 57.1% completion rate and a 56.3 passer rating as the primary defender.

    Le'Veon Bell (29)

    Bell may have played his way out of the NFL just four years after being arguably the league's best back. Bell amassed 4,476 rushing yards in his final four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2014 to 2017), which ranked third in the NFL amongst running backs, and first in receiving yards at his position with 2,261.

    Since then, Bell's career has taken a turn for the worse. After a one-year holdout, Bell cashed in with the New York Jets in 2019 but became arguably the worst running back in football. In Bell's one-and-a-half seasons with the Jets, he recorded just 863 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns while averaging a paltry 3.3 yards per carry -- all last in the league among the 16 running backs that have logged more than 240 carries since Bell started with the Jets -- up until his release from the team in October 2020.

    Bell ended up with the Kansas City Chiefs, finishing with 63 carries for 254 yards and two touchdowns (4.0 yards per carry) in nine games. He has failed to record a run of more than 20 yards since Christmas Day 2017 with the Steelers.

    After criticizing Andy Reid this offseason, it may be difficult for Bell to find another NFL job any time soon.

    Olivier Vernon (30)

    Offseason Achilles surgery hindered Vernon's chances of landing a huge payday in free agency. Vernon was a force on the Cleveland Browns defense in 2020, finishing with nine sacks (the second-highest total of his career), 16 quarterback hits, 28 pressures and 12 hurries.

    Some team will be more than pleased with Vernon, whose nine sacks came over his final eight games. The only downside with signing Vernon is that he may not be ready to play until late-September at the earliest, as Achilles injuries usually take nine months to recover.

    Still, Vernon is good enough to help a playoff contender.

    Todd Gurley (27)

    Gurley still remains on the open market after training camp, which is a bit of a surprise. Knee issues have played a role in Gurley not being able to find a job, limiting his ability to be a featured back again. Of the 10 running backs with 400-plus carries over the last two years, Gurley is last in yards per carry (3.7) and rushing yards (1,535). He is fourth in rushing touchdowns (21) during that span.

    Gurley can still provide a red zone threat for any team that signs him. He led the NFL with 48 rushing touchdowns from 2016 to 2019, which were eight more than Ezekiel Elliott. His 67 rushing touchdowns since his rookie year in 2015 lead the league.

    It's hard to envision Gurley staying unemployed all year. He can help out a contending team.

    Frank Gore (38)

    Gore is open to playing a 17th season, but hasn't found a team yet. The odds are against Gore recording a carry at age 38, but he'll make history if he does. No running back has ever recorded a carry at the age of 38 (with records first kept in 1950). The most rushing yards for a back age 38 or older is fullback Tony Richardson, who finished with five carries for 13 yards in his age-38 season (2010).

    If Gore does play, there's a good chance he breaks that mark. Gore finished with 187 carries and 653 yards and two touchdowns in 2020, as he was the No. 1 running back for the Jets at 37.

    Gore won't be asked to carry the load much in 2021 if he signs with a team, but there will be plenty of firsts if he plays at age 38. He'll be the first running back to carry a football and rush for any yards at that age, an impressive feat given the brevity of running backs in this league.

    Larry Fitzgerald (38)

    Fitzgerald isn't sure at the moment if he'll return for an 18th season in the NFL, but it is expected to be with the Arizona Cardinals if he does. Fitzgerald is coming off a 54-catch, 409-yard, 7.6-yard-per-reception, one-touchdown campaign -- all of which were career lows.

    Fitzgerald has caught 1,432 passes for 17,492 yards and 121 touchdowns in his Hall of Fame career, all with the Cardinals. He's second only to Jerry Rice in receptions and receiving yards and sixth all-time in receiving touchdowns. Fitzgerald holds 24 NFL records and 40 franchise records, etching himself as one of the greatest players in NFL history.

    Perhaps Arizona making a potential playoff run will change Fitzgerald's mind in a few months, but the urge doesn't seem to be there for him at the moment.

    Geno Atkins (33)

    Atkins is on the market now, but the eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro should find a new team soon. Atkins had a visit with the Seattle Seahawks this week -- one month after being cleared from offseason shoulder surgery.

    A late start to free agency shouldn't affect Atkins much, as he's looking for a bounce-back campaign after playing in just eight games and recording one tackle in 2020. The shoulder injury didn't help, as Atkins was ineffective dealing with the issue all year.

    Atkins is still a good rotational piece for a team that needs help on the defensive line.

    John Brown (31)
    Brown entered free agency after requesting his release from the Raiders. He still is a big-play threat that averaged more than 14 yards per catch in three of the last four years, and he is just two years removed from racking up 1,060 yards with the Buffalo Bills in 2019.

    Brown had 33 catches for 458 yards and three touchdowns last season after hauling in 72 catches in 2019. Teams could use Brown's big-play ability in their offense, especially teams that need veteran receiver depth

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