AP Photo

Cardinals betting chalk against Bengals in clash of division leaders

Leave a comment

The Arizona Cardinals will be looking to pad their three-game lead atop the NFC West standings and extend their current straight-up winning streak to four games when they host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football as 5-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The 7-2 Cardinals extended their divisional lead with a 39-32 win in Seattle last Sunday night, taking home the outright win in their first outing as underdogs this season and improving their against-the-spread record to 6-3.

While Seattle’s 32 points by far marks the most that the Cardinals have surrendered this season their offense continues to fire on all cylinders, averaging 33 points per game during their current win streak and 33.6 PPG on the season. That has them second only to New England going into Sunday night’s Bengals vs. Cardinals betting matchup at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Veteran pivot Carson Palmer continues to be the difference maker, tossing three touchdown passes against the Seahawks to raise his season total to 23, just one behind the Patriots’ Tom Brady, while also recording the league’s second-ranked  passer rating of 108.0

The win over Seattle also marked the first time in three games that the Cardinals surrendered over 300 total yards during their current run, holding opposing ground games to under 100 rushing yards in three of their last five.

Despite their recent winning ways, Arizona has failed to pay off at the sportsbooks in recent home games, going 0-2 ATS in their last two and 2-3 ATS in their last five in the desert.

The Bengals travel west after suffering their first loss of the season, a 10-6 defeat at home to the Houston Texans on Monday night.

That matchup was the third straight in which Cincy gave up just 10 points, but the AFC North leaders were unable to generate any offense after routing Cleveland 31-10 two weeks ago, going a dismal 3-for-12 on third downs and failing to penetrate the Texans red zone again after taking an early 6-0 lead.

The loss was also the Bengals’ first ATS this season and ended their five-game SU win streak at home, but the club remains perfect on the road this season and is an outstanding 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS in their last nine regular season road contests according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

However, Cincinnati has produced mixed results in meetings with the Cardinals since the club moved to Arizona, going 4-3 SU and 3-4 ATS in their last seven matchups.

Bennett doesn’t fear backlash for skipping White House trip


HOUSTON (AP) Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett says he is not worried about upsetting team owner Robert Kraft by not attending New England’s trip to the White House as Super Bowl champions.

Bennett said after the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Falcons on Sunday night that he’s “not going to go” to the traditional meet-and-greet with the president. It will be the first visit of a Super Bowl champion to Washington since Donald Trump was sworn into office.

Trump’s positions have alienated some athletes, which has raised questions about whether some might choose to skip the trip while the new president is in office.

But Bennett said he isn’t concerned about it and thinks the team believes “in whatever I want to do.”

Kraft is a supporter of Trump and attended a celebration dinner in Washington for him the night before his inauguration.

Patriots’ Tom Brady earns 4th Super Bowl MVP trophy with epic comeback


HOUSTON (AP) The greatest quarterback in NFL history led the biggest Super Bowl comeback to be the MVP on Sunday night.

Tom Brady rallied New England from a 25-point third-quarter deficit for a 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history to earn his fifth Super Bowl title and fourth MVP trophy.

“They’re all sweet,” he said. “They’re all different and this was just an incredible team and I’m just happy to be a part of it,” he said.

Brady threw touchdown passes of 5 and 6 yards in the second half and tied things at 28-28 when he connected withDanny Amendola on a 2-point conversion with 57 seconds left.

He then directed the drive in overtime which ended with a 2-yard run by James White to make the Patriots the first team to win a Super Bowl after trailing by more than 10 points.

“We all brought each other back,” he said. “We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle.”

His performance certainly wasn’t without its struggles. His incredible second half and overtime came after a first half where the Patriots managed just three points and he threw an interception which Robert Alford returned 82 yards for a touchdown. He was hurried and harassed for much of the games. The Falcons sacked him five times and hit him on another eight occasions.

He noted the beating he took when he was trying to recount the details of the comeback and couldn’t remember what the score was at one point in the rally.

“There was a lot of (stuff) that happened tonight,” he said. “I got hit pretty hard.”

His 466 yards passing are a Super Bowl record, surpassing the 414 yards Kurt Warner had 17 years ago. He also set a record for most passes completed in a Super Bowl with 43 and most attempts with 62.

He is the first to play in seven Super Bowls and the victory ties him with Charles Haley for most Super Bowl rings.

After all Brady has done in his career, was this his finest moment?

“Tom’s had a lot of great ones,” coach Bill Belichick said. “But, yeah tonight was one of them.”

It’s a triumphant end to a difficult season for Brady, who missed the first four games because of his “Deflategate” suspension and dealt with his mother Galynn Brady suffering through an undisclosed illness. The Super Bowl was the first game she’s attended all season.

“They’re all happy,” he said fighting back tears. “It’s nice to have everybody here and it’s going to be a great celebration tonight.”

He shared a quick moment with her right after the game, but was looking forward to more time with her in the upcoming days.

“It’s kind of madness after the game so I didn’t get much quality time with her but we’ll get it this week,” he said.

But he certainly wasn’t asking for sympathy for his rough road to this title though, chuckling when someone asked about the adversity the Patriots have gone through in the past couple of years.

“We’ve done pretty good over the last few years … so I don’t think anyone’s feeling bad for the Patriots,” he said. “I don’t think anyone feels bad for the Patriots.”

Brady also collected the MVP trophy in 2001, 2003 and 2014.

“It was just a lot of mental toughness by our team and we’re going to remember this one for the rest of our lives,” Brady said.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL