Jan 29, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles see majority of early action as Super Bowl spread shifts to -2

The early returns show that football bettors are lining up behind the Philadelphia Eagles to win Super Bowl LVII.

After emerging as the slight favorites Sunday night after the conclusion of conference championship weekend, the Eagles have solidified as two-point favorites over the Kansas City Chiefs at some major sportsbooks.

DraftKings Sportsbook revealed Monday evening that 70 percent of the total bets and 72 percent of the handle are backing the Eagles at -2. On the moneyline (-130), 57 percent of the handle is with Philadelphia.

The story was similar at BetMGM, which opened Sunday night with the Chiefs as a -1.5 favorite before the odds swung the Eagles’ way. Philadelphia enjoyed a -2.5 spread Monday morning, a number that has since settled back to -2.

At BetMGM, the Eagles raked in 66 percent of the tickets and 69 percent of the handle. The moneyline still leaned Philadelphia’s way as well, as the Eagles (-130) had earned 43 percent of the bets but 68 percent of the handle.

The over/under stood at 49.5 points at BetMGM and an even 50 at DraftKings. Bettors figure the battle between Patrick Mahomes’ aerial attack and Jalen Hurts’ run-first machine will be a high-scoring one; 54 percent of the handle at BetMGM and 57 percent of the handle at DraftKings was bet on the over.

The Eagles and Chiefs both entered the playoffs as their conferences’ respective No. 1 seeds. Philadelphia beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 in the NFC Championship Game, and Kansas City followed that with a much more entertaining affair in beating the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 on a field goal in the final seconds.

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA;  Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) runs for the first down as Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Carlos Dunlap (8) makes the tackle during the fourth quarter at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals at Chiefs Odds, Props & Picks

In the playoffs, there’s no passer like Patrick Mahomes at home.

Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs welcome the Bengals in the AFC Championship game Sunday in a repeat of the 2021 title game that sent Joe Burrow and Cincinnati to the Super Bowl. But there’s a significant twist.

Mahomes plans to play with a sprained right ankle and has lost three games in a row to the Bengals, including 27-24 on Dec. 4. His health and the groundswell of support for Burrow has the Chiefs as the underdog in the playoffs for the first time in Mahomes’ career.

Mahomes has been at his best on the big stage with 32 touchdowns (28 TD passes, four rushing) and three interceptions in 10 career home playoff starts.

The tug of war for bettors has been evident since Sunday night, when most books had the Chiefs as favorites — by 2 or 3 points — only to see the Bengals favored by 2 as a consensus by midday Monday. But with Mahomes’ status firmed up by the Chiefs and video evidence to support, the public forced a wild swing that had Kansas City favored by a point.

Burrow, mind you, is 19-5 against the spread in his last 24 games as an underdog. Cincinnati is 9-0 in its last nine as an underdog.

As of Friday morning, the Chiefs were a 1.5-point favorite and a low money line to win outright (-118 at FanDuel).

BetMGM’s handle on spread betting as of Noon ET Friday was 70-30 in favor of the Bengals. At DraftKings, the swing to give Cincinnati points pushed more money on straight spread bets toward the Bengals. DraftKings had 76 percent of the total spread handle on Cincinnati.

Money line wagering was also leaning Cincinnati and tipped the two-thirds mark at DraftKings.

The initial sprain forced him out of the Chiefs’ divisional playoff win over the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. He returned to the game with limited mobility, completing 22 of 30 passes for a season-low 195 yards with two touchdowns and was not sacked.

He’s 9-3 in 12 career playoff games with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Mahomes said the injury isn’t as severe as his 2019 high ankle sprain or a toe injury two seasons ago, when he finished the season in a Super Bowl defeat at the hands of Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. The difference will be in physical limitations on his right ankle and plant leg throwing from the pocket.

Cincinnati has a 10-game winning streak and its most recent loss was to Cleveland on Halloween. Burrow would tie Russell Wilson for most wins (six) by a quarterback in their first three seasons if he can knock off the Chiefs again.

“He’s got an edge to him,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said of Burrow. “I like that in our quarterback.”

He hasn’t been intercepted in his past three playoff games. In three starts against the Chiefs, Burrow has nine TDs (one rushing), one interception and a combined passer rating of 121.

A fumble by Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in the fourth quarter turned the game at Cincinnati in December, and kicker Harrison Butker missed a 55-yard field goal that would have sent the game into overtime.

Mahomes will start his fifth conference championship game.

PROP BETS
Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster under 46.5 yards (-110, FanDuel): With only 11 targets in the past four games combined and two in the playoff win over the Jaguars last week (29 yards), Smith-Schuster might be due. But his breakout isn’t coming here. The Bengals clamped him the regular-season clash in December, when he caught three of four targets for 35 yards. Smith-Schuster has been limited to 38 yards or fewer seven times in the past nine games.

Bengals RB Joe Mixon over 58.5 rushing yards (-110, BetMGM): Only four NFL teams played more base nickel or dime defense than the Chiefs and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo isn’t the type to change his stripes. He’s the type to rip with the front four and vary coverage. The Chiefs could apply more pressure if the Bengals, who didn’t have three starters on the offensive line at Buffalo last week, show leaks in protection. Methodical drives and a heavy reliance on plowing ahead with Mixon – 105 rushing yards last week — worked in beating the Bills, and Mixon had 88 rushing yards at Kansas City in the 2021 AFC Championship. Noteworthy: Mixon’s rushing total at FanDuel and DraftKings was set at 59.5.

Bengals LB Germaine Pratt over 6.5 tackles (-120 at BetMGM): This number includes solo plus assisted tackles. Pratt’s total was bet up to -140 at other books, and this one is a soft guarantee. Soft because he had only four total tackles when the teams met Dec. 4. He had eight or more tackles in nine games this season and a physically limited Mahomes brings the chances of short and quick throws, where Pratt could be in on double-digit stops.

Butker over 7.5 points (+105 at Caesars Sportsbook): Bend, don’t break. That’s the charge for Cincinnati against the Chiefs, a winning approach that resulted in back-to-back 27-24 wins for the Bengals. Butker missed a field goal in the December meeting that would’ve forced overtime – and given him nine total points for the game. With safeties deep and boundaries available, the Chiefs won’t have as many explosive plays – or points – but count on Kansas City consistently moving the ball into FG range.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) in action against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Public behind Eagles, Bengals in early title game betting

Early money on the conference championship games decidedly backs the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals.

BetMGM was first to report where public money landed on Monday, with the line in the AFC Championship Game sliding toward Cincinnati with the status of Chiefs quarterback and NFL MVP frontrunner Patrick Mahomes up in the air.

Kansas City knocked off the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday and hosts the Bengals this weekend in a repeat of the 2022 conference title game. Cincinnati has won the past three meetings with the Chiefs, including a 27-24 victory during the regular season.

More than 80 percent of the handle bet on the spread of the AFC Championship Game is on the Bengals +1. The line at BetMGM and DraftKings opened at Kansas City -2.

As of Monday, 85 percent of bets on the outright winner or money line was on the Bengals. BetMGM dropped the money line from +100 to -105 in the first five hours of wagering on the game.

Massive support for the Eagles, who play host to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, pushed the line from opening at -2 to -3.

Public money on Philadelphia includes 84 percent of the spread handle, and 75 percent of the BetMGM take on the total is on the under (45).

But money line wagers point to some support for the 49ers. Around 56 percent of money line bets back the 49ers (+125), but the total money line handle is 74 percent Philly.

–Field Level Media

Dec 22, 2019; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar signs an autograph before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Bernie Kosar says Browns fired him; bet on team reportedly to blame

Bernie Kosar said the Cleveland Browns told him Sunday morning they have cut ties with their former quarterback, who has worked on the team’s radio shows and as an ambassador.

“I was informed by the Browns that my services are no longer desired or needed,” Kosar tweeted. “I will not be doing todays radio program. I am shocked & disappointed Brown & Orange is my life”

Cleveland.com, citing a league source, said Kosar’s termination was a result of a $19,000 bet he placed on the Browns to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday’s season finale. Kosar, 59, discussed on the Bernie Kosar Show placing the first bet with Tipico sportsbook, and the company issued a news release hailing the wager and its exclusive partnership with Cleveland-based sports and entertainment network BIGPLAY.

Sports betting in Ohio became legal on Jan. 1, and Kosar made the bet just after midnight.

NFL personnel and players are banned from betting on football. Cleveland.com said that rule extended to Kosar in his role with the Browns.

The Browns selected Kosar, from nearby Boardman, Ohio, with the No. 1 overall pick of the 1985 NFL Supplemental Draft. He spent eight-plus seasons with the Browns, amassing a 53-51-1 record as a starter.

He had two chances to lead the Browns to a Super Bowl. In consecutive AFC Championship games in 1987 and 1988 against the Denver Broncos, Cleveland was thwarted by game-changing events that simply became known as “The Drive” and “The Fumble.”

Kosar did win a Super Bowl as a backup with the Dallas Cowboys and ended his career with the Miami Dolphins, where he played his college football with the Miami Hurricanes.

In 128 career games (108 starts), Kosar threw for 23,301 yards with 124 touchdowns and 87 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees stands on the sidelines before the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Buffalo Bills at the Caesars Superdome. Brees is b being honored at half-time of the game that he is also announcing for NBC. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Report: N.J. halts Citrus Bowl bets due to Purdue hiring Drew Brees

Gaming regulators in New Jersey have taken the Citrus Bowl off the board because Purdue hiring Drew Brees as an interim assistant coach caused a violation of the state’s regulations, ESPN reported Friday.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced that “an individual associated with the Purdue Football team” was in violation of its regulations. ESPN reported that individual was Brees, the former New Orleans Saints quarterback, who had a business relationship with sportsbook PointsBet.

Wagers placed by New Jersey bettors after Dec. 15 — the day Brees was named an interim assistant — must be voided, per the regulatory body’s ruling.

PointsBet announced on Dec. 22 that it was ending its “ambassador partnership agreement” with Brees after his decision to join the coaching staff at his alma mater.

The Citrus Bowl will see Purdue take on No. 17 LSU on Monday afternoon.

Brian Brohm is serving as the interim head coach for the Boilermakers on Monday after his brother, Jeff Brohm, left the post to take the same position at his alma mater, Louisville.

–Field Level Media

Dec 18, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) and Tennessee Titans linebacker Rashad Weaver (99) during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers at Colts: MNF Preview, Prop Picks, Prediction

The Los Angeles Chargers roll into Indianapolis for Monday Night Football knowing a victory clinches a playoff spot.

The Chargers (8-6) are riding a two-game winning streak and face a reeling Colts team coming off an historic 33-point collapse against Minnesota. The Colts (4-9-1) are without star running back Jonathan Taylor for the remainder of the season and are turning to Nick Foles, who will be their third starting quarterback this year.

Indianapolis has lost four consecutive games following an opening win for interim coach Jeff Saturday and has been eliminated from playoff contention.

The Chargers opened as 4.5-point favorites at BetMGM, but the line has moved to 3.0 with the Colts drawing 81 percent of the spread-line action. The 4.0-point line at DraftKings has seen the Chargers backed by 77 percent of the spread bets and 67 percent of the handle.

“Indianapolis was up 33-0 last week in an NFL game,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. “That’s very difficult to do. The reason why they were is because they have a lot of good players and they have a lot of good coaches.”

PROP PICKS
Chargers RB Austin Ekeler Anytime TD (+450 at DraftKings): Ekeler has been the most popular prop play at both sportsbooks for good reason. He has 14 total touchdowns on the season, including at least one in nine of his past 11 games. His odds to score Monday night have a slightly smaller payout at BetMGM (+400). The Colts are allowing 123.7 yards per game on the ground and enter the game 25th in the NFL in giving up an average of 24.1 points.

Colts WR Parris Campbell Under 38.5 Receiving Yards (-115 at BetMGM): This has been the third most popular player prop at the sportsbook. Campbell has topped this mark in seven of his 14 games this season but is averaging only 4.3 targets over his past four games. What his role in the passing game is with Foles under center remains to be seen, but he’s fighting for targets behind Michael Pittman along with rookie Alec Pierce.

Over 44.5 Total Points (-100 at BetMGM/DraftKings): The total has been shifting downward all week, opening at 47.5 points at BetMGM, where 57 percent of the bets and 61 percent of the money has backed the Under. The action has been more split at DraftKings with the money 50/50 and the Over drawing 56 percent of the bets. The Chargers enter 21st in total defense and are just below the Colts in points allowed per game at 24.3.

INJURY REPORT
Chargers: S Derwin James (quad) is expected to return after missing the past two games, but DE Joey Bosa (groin) does not appear ready yet. DB Kemon Hall (hamstring) is officially out.

Colts: Taylor (ankle) is out along with CB Kenny Moore II (leg) and TE Kylen Granson (ankle). CB Brandon Facyson (illness) and WR Mike Strachan (concussion) are slated to play.

PREDICTION
Foles is accustomed to the relief role, having guided Philadelphia to a Super Bowl title after replacing an injured Carson Wentz in Week 14 in 2017. He could provide a steadying influence to the Colts’ lackluster offense, but he can’t fix the offensive line or running game woes. The Chargers are peaking at the right time and will be highly motivated to lock up a playoff spot before the New Year. — Chargers 27, Colts 20

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  New York Jets wide receivers coach Miles Austin on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Jets receivers coach Miles Austin suspended for sports betting

The NFL has suspended New York Jets wide receivers coach Miles Austin for violating the league’s policy on gambling on sports.

ESPN and NFL Network reported that the suspension is for at least one year. Austin is appealing the suspension.

Austin did not bet on NFL games, according to his counsel.

“The NFL suspended Miles Austin for wagering from a legal mobile account on table games and non-NFL professional sports,” Bill Deni said in a statement on behalf of his client. “Miles did not wager on any NFL game in violation of the Gambling Policy for NFL Personnel. He has been fully cooperative with the NFL’s investigation.”

Austin, 38, is in his second season coaching the Jets’ receivers.

He is best known for his 10-year NFL playing career with the Dallas Cowboys (2006-13), Cleveland Browns (2014) and Philadelphia Eagles (2015). Austin went from being undrafted out of Monmouth to becoming a two-time Pro Bowler with Dallas. He finished his career with 361 receptions, 5,273 yards and 38 total touchdowns (37 receiving).

ESPN reported that Austin had been placing bets while inside the Jets’ facility, and that he hasn’t been with the team since Tuesday. He wasn’t with the team for Thursday’s 19-3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to multiple reports.

The NFL has business partnerships with FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars Sportsbooks, but it continues to uphold a no-tolerance policy for its personnel gambling on sports, even outside of football.

Jacksonville Jaguars wideout Calvin Ridley is currently serving a year-long ban for placing bets on NFL games that did not involve his team at the time of the suspension, the Atlanta Falcons.

–Field Level Media

Dec 2, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA;  UTSA Roadrunners quarterback Frank Harris (0) runs the ball in the first half against the North Texas Mean Green at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Cure Bowl: Bettors behind Troy over UTSA

More than 90 percent of bettors are taking the over, and 77 percent of the money wagered on the Cure Bowl at BetRivers is behind the Troy Trojans.

UTSA is a consensus three-point favorite and WynnBet and BetRivers set the point total at 56.5. It opened at 54.5 at FanDuel and has been lifted by majority bets being placed on the bigger total.

Almost 80 percent of the money on the game at BetMGM is on the Trojans.

If there’s a prop to consider, peek at UTSA quarterback Frank Harris’ passing yardage. Troy’s defense is its calling card, but Harris put up more than 550 yards and three TDs against Houston, the top team on the Roadrunners’ schedule this season. He added more than 100 yards rushing and a TD.

That game was a 37-35 loss, but note the over is 3-0 in non-conference games for UTSA.

Most books opened Harris’ passing yardage total prop at 273.5 and FanDuel set at 280 on Thursday night.

The early game helps kick off bowl season Friday and the attractive matchup of the No. 25 Roadrunners and No. 24 Troy at Orlando, Fla., pairs programs with 10-game winning streaks, tied for third nationally behind Georgia (15) and Michigan (13).

The Roadrunners (11-2) control games with their offense while the Trojans (11-2) are sturdy on defense.

Harris was named Conference USA Player of the Year in 2022. He passed for 3,865 yards, 31 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He thought about his future and decided returning to the school in San Antonio was his best option. He’s hoping to provide the program’s first bowl win this week.

He’s the prime reason why UTSA ranks 12th nationally in scoring offense (38.7 points per game) and ninth in total offense (486.1 yards per game) entering the program’s fourth-ever bowl contest.

The Trojans will look to slow the Roadrunners with a defense that ranks eighth in scoring defense (17.5) and is tied for 19th in total defense (325.3). Troy has 39 sacks as it seeks to notch its fifth consecutive bowl win.

The defense features linebacker Carlton Martial, who has 121 tackles and was named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year and also earned first-team all-conference honors for the fourth time. The 5-foot-9, 210-pound Martial holds the FBS all-time record of 563 tackles and also has 10 1/2 sacks, eight forced fumbles and six interceptions in his career.

Offensively, Gunnar Watson has passed for 2,705 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Kimani Vidal is the leading rusher with 1,059 yards and nine scores.

The Trojans’ losses were to Ole Miss (28-10 on Sept. 3) and Appalachian State (32-28 on Sept. 17).

“We’re going to Orlando with the intention of winning a football game, but we’re also going to make sure that our players have a great time and are rewarded for a championship season,” Troy coach Jon Sumrall said.

UTSA’s losses were to Houston (37-35 in triple overtime on Sept. 3) and Texas (41-20) on Sept. 17).

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Bills-Browns over-under swings wildly with move to Detroit

A change in venue for the Cleveland Browns-Buffalo Bills game on Sunday led to a major swing in the game’s over-under odds and the cancellation of some bets.

The NFL announced Thursday that the game would be moved from Orchard Park, N.Y., where five-plus feet of snow is expected this week, to Detroit.

Caesars Sportsbook subsequently tweeted, “Bets placed on this event prior to the location change will be void.”

However, DraftKings ruled that because the game day and the designated home team remain unchanged, all existing bets would stand.

The point spread for the contest remained relatively stable. The Bills had been favored by 8.5 points for the game in Buffalo, and most sites still had the spread at that figure Thursday night.

The total for the game, though, varied wildly. After opening at around 46.5 to 47.5 points, the over-under dipped down to 42.5 to 44 points due to brutal forecast for Western New York.

After the announcement of the move to New York, the game was off the board for a bit, then was reposted at most books with a 48.5-point total.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills apparatus stand snow covered before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Blizzard warning plowing odds for Bills-Browns

The forecast for Buffalo calls for more than two feet of snow and falling point totals on Sunday.

Books are moving their morning lines to reflect changes in the weather that could bring a massive amount of snow before, during and after the Week 11 NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.

Models vary in projections for lake effect snow for western New York, with Buffalo projected to get between 23 and 32 inches and gusty winds into game time on Sunday (1 p.m. ET scheduled kickoff).

The Bills are favored by 8 points on the consensus line.

BetMGM lowered the total from 47 total points to 43 on Tuesday, noting the winter storm warning from the National Weather Service.

The teams haven’t met since 2019, a 19-16 win for the Browns in Cleveland.

The Bills average 27.8 points per game this season and have topped 27 in all four home games.

Cleveland opened as 8.5-point underdogs and the consensus total was 44.5, which was bet higher Sunday and Monday.

–Field Level Media