Saints move to road favorite against Falcons for Thursday Night

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A matchup of NFC South rivals that each possess extreme betting trends has seen the line shift toward the red-hot New Orleans Saints, but the Atlanta Falcons could illustrate that what goes up always comes down in the NFL, eventually.

The New Orleans Saints and veteran quarterback Drew Brees are listed as a 1.5-point road favorite against the Atlanta Falcons with a 51.5-point total for the NFL Week 14 Thursday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The NFC South-leading Saints are 7-1 straight-up in the last eight conference games and 3-1 against the spread in their last four games with the Falcons, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

Atlanta, which is certainly in more of a must-win situation as far as playoff hopes are concerned, is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games at night. The Falcons, who are coming off of a loss against the Minnesota Vikings, are also 6-2 straight-up in their last eight games after a loss.

Atlanta, which opened as a two-point favorite before the line shifted to the Saints, is 5-1 SU in its last six games as a home underdog, and 7-1 ATS in its last eight when it laid points at home.

The Saints, who are 9-3 SU and 7-5 ATS, have surrounded future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees with a much more complete team this season. The Saints were a solid road cover – 13-3 ATS in their last 16 road games – even when they were somewhat one-dimensional. If leading rusher Mark Ingram (toe) is good to go, then he and Alvin Kamara, who have helped the Saints lead the NFL at 5.0 yards per carry, should pose a threat to Atlanta’s rushing defense.

Brees had one interception in each of the Saints’ 2016 games against Atlanta. The Falcons have limited opponents to 6.5 yards per pass and their best cover CB Desmond Trufant (concussion protocol) is expected to play, so nothing will come easily for Brees’ targets such as WR Michael Thomas.

The Falcons, who are 7-5 SU and 5-7 ATS, could have a favorable matchup in the passing phase since Saints rookie CB Marshon Lattimore (ankle), in his first game back from injury, could draw most of the coverage against WR Julio Jones.

Jones was shut down last week against Minnesota, but is rarely quiet two games in a row and has 361 yards in his last three home games against the Saints. New Orleans’ pass defense is mid-pack at 7.1 yards per pass allowed, but DE Cameron Jordan is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

Ryan has had a quarterback rating north of 100 in each of his last six starts against the Saints, and has only one interception in that span. Atlanta is facing a vastly improved Saints defense, though. The absence of G Andy Levitre could also limit Atlanta with opening holes for RB Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.

The total has gone under in four of the Saints’ last five games on a Thursday for bettors. The total has gone over in six of the Falcons’ last eight divisional games, with one push.

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.

NFL Week 17 odds roundup: Playoff positioning on the line in top matchups

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With backup Matt McGloin at the controls, the Oakland Raiders will try to sustain their road-warrior mojo against the Denver Broncos. The playoff-bound Raiders, minus QB Derek Carr (broken fibula), are 2.5-point road underdogs against the Broncos at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The New England Patriots’ result will determine whether the Raiders have a shot at the AFC’s No. 1 seed, but a loss coupled with a Kansas City Chiefs win would leave them in a wild-card spot. The Raiders are 9-1 against the spread in their last 10 road games.

The Raiders, through RB Latavius Murray, have the fifth-ranked rushing attack and Denver is porous against the run. If McGloin passes well enough to keep the Broncos defense honest, Oakland could outscore Denver’s mediocre offense.

The New England Patriots are listed as 10-point road favorites against the Miami Dolphins.  The Dolphins, who are 9-1 SU and 8-1-1 ATS over their last 10 games, will have RB Jay Ajayi in the lineup to help with their formula of running the ball and playing good defense. Tom Brady might rely on RB LeGarrette Blount to ease the load, since Miami’s run defense is just average.

The Kansas City Chiefs are a 5.5-point road favorite against the San Diego Chargers as they vie for the AFC West title. The Chiefs, who rolled against Denver in Week 16, are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games after an ATS win, but FS Eric Berry and a takeaway-happy defense are matched against the team with the NFL’s second-most turnovers.

The Washington Redskins, who need a win and some help to make the playoffs, are eight-point favorites against the New York Giants, the locked-in No. 5 seed. Washington has not been this big of a favorite since 2009. Whether QB Kirk Cousins‘ primary targets such as WR DeSean Jackson and TE Jordan Reed face the Giants’ starters for a full four quarters is unclear.

The Atlanta Falcons are 6.5-point favorites against the New Orleans Saints. Matt Ryan‘s offense has lit up the scoreboard against much better defenses than the Saints’ 25th-ranked unit. On the other side of the ball, Drew Brees has the league’s most productive offense and New Orleans is 5-2 SU in their last seven visits to Atlanta.

And with the NFC North title on the line, the Green Bay Packers are favored by 3.5 points on the road against the Detroit Lions in the Sunday Night Football matchup. The Lions are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six home games, but have rarely shown the type of formidable pass rush it would take to get Packers QB Aaron Rodgers out of the zone he has been in for the past five games.