Cowboys favored over Cardinals to kick off preseason in Hall of Fame Game

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The Dallas Cowboys have not been a lock against the spread recently or in recent preseasons, yet they are the favorite against the Arizona Cardinals at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday night.

The Cowboys are listed as a one-point favorite against the Cardinals with 35-point total in their NFL preseason betting matchup at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

While the Cowboys are a contender to represent the NFC at Super Bowl LII next February, they are just 3-13 against the spread and 5-11 straight-up in the preseason since 2013. Dallas also went just 1-6 ATS over in its final seven games last season, when it reached the divisional playoff round.

The Cowboys, who were 13-4 SU and 10-6-1 ATS overall in 2016, are unlikely to play any starters, based on how coach Jason Garrett has approached preseason games in the past. They will be running out some seasoned quarterbacks, with backup Kellen Moore likely to start while Luke McCown (10 career starts), and Cooper Rush will also play. McCown has a tidy 11-to-3 TD-to-interception ratio in the preseason over the last four years, but he has also had just barely a week to learn the Cowboys’ offense.

Dallas is 7-2-1 SU and 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games against the NFC West according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

The Cardinals, who were 7-8-1 SU and 6-10 ATS during a down year in 2016, have also confirmed that no starters will play, while Carson Palmer‘s understudy at quarterback, Drew Stanton, will also sit this one out. Blaine Gabbert, a former starter in Jacksonville and San Francisco, is due to play the first half. Gabbert, going off the fact his career-high average per attempt in preseason is 7.3 yards (set in 2015 with the 49ers), might not go downfield often.

Trevor Knight is expected to quarterback the Cardinals in the second half. While it’s difficult to know whether regular-season trends can be applied to preseason games – especially the first one – the Cardinals are 9-1 SU and 9-0-1 ATS over their last 10 games against NFC East teams.

The total went over in all four of the Cowboys’ preseason games in 2016. The total has gone over in seven of the Cardinals’ last eight preseason games, as well as their last seven games overall. Ten of the last 16 Hall of Fame games have had a total of fewer than 35 points. That’s dating back to 2000, since last year’s game was cancelled due to poor field conditions.

Eagles become Super Bowl LII betting favorites

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Although the toughest stage of their season is ahead of them, the Philadelphia Eagles seem to be worth their price tag on the Super Bowl LII champion odds.

The Eagles, led by young quarterback Carson Wentz, are now the +400 favorite on the odds to win Super Bowl 52 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The defending champion New England Patriots (+450) are the second favorite, with the Pittsburgh Steelers (+750), Kansas City Chiefs (+1100), Seattle Seahawks (+1200), Los Angeles Rams (+1400) and New Orleans Saints (+1400) also moving up the board.

Philadelphia enters Week 10 of the season with a NFL-best 8-1 record, a prolific offense led by Wentz and a defense that leads the NFL in sacks. Their remaining slate still includes two games against the Dallas Cowboys (+1600) as well as potential playoff previews against the Rams and Seahawks, but Philadelphia is in the driver’s seat to have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

That makes them a more sure commodity than most other teams, especially since having a strong rushing attack and a strong run defense could work in their favor come playoff time.

The Patriots are having their issues on defense, but the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady mystique makes it hard to write them off this early in the game. At the same time, New England is at the midpoint of the season ranked dead last in the NFL in yards allowed and passing yards allowed. It’s hard to win with substandard defense.

The value among AFC aspirants, though, probably rests more with the Steelers. Two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is no longer at his peak, but is surrounded by better skill-position talent than Brady and Pittsburgh also boasts a top-5 defense with a reliable pass rush.

Similarly, while they have cooled off, Kansas City is worth monitoring if one believes both the Patriots and Steelers are too flawed to win the conference.

In the NFC, the Seahawks are one team that can probably be singled out as a sucker bet due to the weakness of their offensive line and rushing game. If one is inclined to cast their lot with an outside shot from the NFC, it might be better to take a long look at either the Rams or Minnesota Vikings (+1600) since both are younger teams.

The Rams are exhibiting a high-octane offense built around QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley, and have pieces in place to be competitive for years. Their future might be now.  Likewise, the Vikings have had a strong enough defense to weather an ever-changing quarterback situation (Case Keenum? Teddy Bridgewater?). Both teams also have clear paths to winning their divisions.

Super Bowl LII will take place Feb. 4, 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Steelers road favorites against Lions in Sunday Night Football matchup

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Picking between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions on Sunday night could simply come down to Ben Roethlisberger‘s record in primetime games compared to that of quarterback counterpart Matthew Stafford.

The Steelers are 3-point road favorites against the Lions with a 46-point total for the Week 8 Sunday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

On top of having never lost a game at Ford Field, the Steelers are 6-1 straight-up and 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven road games as a favorite of 3.0 or fewer points. Pittsburgh is also 4-0 SU in its last four primetime games that Roethlisberger started.

The Lions are 3-13 SU in their last 16 games at night. However, they are coming off a bye and are 6-2 both SU and ATS in their last eight games after a bye week.

The Steelers, which are 5-2 SU and 4-3 ATS, have gotten away with having an oversized chunk of their offense come from RB Le'Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown. With Brown likely to be covered by CB Darius Slay most of the night, Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offensive brain trust might need to look elsewhere.

With WR Martavius Bryant (inactive) scratched, rookie JuJu Schuster-Smith will get plenty of looks as Pittsburgh tries to revive its deep passing game. Roethlisberger will also have to clean up some turnover issues against a Lions defense that is tied for third in the NFL with nine interceptions.

Up front, Pittsburgh has allowed just 10 sacks and the line’s consistent push in the rushing phase has helped Bell find daylight. While the first point of reference with the Lions defense is likely the embarrassing 52 points they allowed two weeks ago against the New Orleans Saints, they are in the top 10 of the league in yards-per-rush.

For the Lions, which are 3-3 both SU and ATS, priorities 1A and 1B for their offense during their week off were presumably first-half production (only five of their 14 offensive touchdowns are before halftime) and pass protection. The possibility of leading receiver Golden Tate (shoulder) being unable to play would definitely hurt their prospects of a fast start, but Stafford does thrive at distributing the ball among several targets.

The issue for Detroit in the passing phase is giving Stafford time to set up. Detroit allowed 17 sacks in its three games immediately prior to the bye, and now it has to stymie a Steelers pass rush that is tied for the second-most sacks with 24.

The Steelers defense is giving up 4.7 yards per carry, so this could be a game where Lions RB Ameer Abdullah sees bigger holes than he’s been accustomed to this season.

The total has gone under in 15 of the Steelers’ last 20 games after a win. The total has gone over in seven of the Lions’ last eight home games in October according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com