Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the 3rd quarter of the Green Bay Packers 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC divisional playoff game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

Packers Rams 04644

Oddsmakers: Aaron Rodgers no (Drew) Lock to start Week 1 for Packers

Green Bay’s quarterback drama is opening new betting markets as books attempt to decode the message from reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.

Drew Lock, currently the presumed No. 1 with the Denver Broncos, has 3-to-1 odds from SportsBetting.com to take the first snap under center with the Packers in 2021.

The Broncos have reportedly been in contact with the Packers about a trade after Rodgers’ displeasure with the front office, namely general manager Brian Gutekunst, became public prior to the 2021 NFL Draft.

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and current Packers backup Jordan Love are second and third in the highly fluid tote board.

Other intriguing names include Russell Wilson. At 7-to-1, Wilson has a salary in the same range as Rodgers’ and spent the end of his college career at Wisconsin.

Worth noting as dot-connecting dominates in the Land of Cheese: Seahawks GM John Schneider hired Gutekunst as a scouting assistant with the Chiefs in 1998. If ever an imaginative deal could be worked out involving two MVP-caliber quarterbacks, it would be between this pair of decision-makers.

The odds from SportsBetting.com on Rodgers’ next team unsurprisingly list the Broncos first at +200. The Las Vegas Raiders and San Francisco 49ers are both +900.

Denver is pitting Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, acquired from the Carolina Panthers, in a competition to start in 2021. Team president John Elway, a Super Bowl-winning QB himself, is credited for landing the team in the Super Bowl again following the free agent courtship of Peyton Manning.

The Raiders are publicly supportive of Carr, but there’s no secret of Jon Gruden’s affinity for golden-armed quarterbacks with Lombardi Trophy resumes.

And the 49ers have kicked the tires on almost all available veterans in the market, including Tom Brady last spring. General manager John Lynch said he pursued a phone call with the Packers after the Rodgers reports surfaced.

If Rodgers starts Week 1 for the Packers, all wagers on the “first snap” market are settled as no action.

Sportsbetting.com odds on player to take first snap of 2021 season for Packers:

Drew Lock 3/1
Derek Carr 4/1
Jordan Love 5/1
Russell Wilson 7/1
Tua Tagovailoa 8/1
Ryan Fitzpatrick 10/1
Jameis Winston 10/1
Teddy Bridgewater 12/1
Jimmy Garoppolo 15/1
Marcus Mariota 15/1
Taylor Heinicke 20/1
Brian Hoyer 22/1
Blake Bortles 25/1
Matt Moore 33/1
Robert Griffin III 33/1
Blaine Gabbert 50/1
Matt Barkley 50/1

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

NFL announces partnership with Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel

The National Football League named Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel as its first-ever U.S. betting partners on Thursday night.

Specific terms of the agreements were not announced, but the negotiations reportedly involve five-year deals that will pay the league just shy of $1 billion. The NFL has opt-out clauses it can invoke toward the end of the deals if desired.

The NFL could sign additional operator partnerships at a lower tier going forward, according to reports.

“As the sports betting landscape has continued to evolve in the United States, we have been thoughtful with our strategy and are excited to announce three partners who share the NFL’s vision and goals,” said Renie Anderson, NFL chief revenue officer and executive vice president of NFL partnerships in a release. “Working closely with Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel, we will provide fans new and different ways of interacting and engaging with the sport they love.”

Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel will have permission to use the NFL logo and team marks on their platforms. Additionally, the three companies receive the right to integrate sports betting content directly into NFL Media properties, including NFL.com and the NFL app.

Previously, the NFL had partnered with sportsbooks in Australia and Latin America.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  A view of the Betting Area sign at Pimlico Race Course. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

AGA: Super Bowl betting expected to drop 37 percent

More than 23 million Americans plan to wager approximately $4.3 billion on Super Bowl LV, a decrease of 37 percent from last year.

That’s according to survey research published Tuesday by the American Gaming Association, which attributes the vast majority of the drop to pandemic-led issues leading to a decline in wagers at retail sportsbooks and social settings, such as office and square pools.

The research did find that a record 7.6 million will bet with online sportsbooks, up 63 percent from 2020. That is the result of 36 million American adults gaining access to regulated betting markets in their home states.

“This year’s Super Bowl is expected to generate the largest single-event legal handle in American sports betting history,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller said. “With a robust legal market, Americans are abandoning illegal bookies and taking their action into the regulated marketplace in record numbers.”

Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington, D.C. have added regulated betting markets since last year’s Super Bowl. That brings the United States total to 20 states and the District of Columbia.

The online survey of 2,198 adults was conducted on behalf of the AGA by Morning Consult. It found that 1.4 million Americans plan to bet at an in-person sportsbook, down 61 percent from last year. Meanwhile, 1.8 million Americans plan to place a bet with a bookie, down 21 percent.

A similar study last year estimated that 26 million Americans planned to wager a combined $6.8 billion on Super Bowl LIV.

Despite the significant drop overall betting, this year’s study did find that 65 percent of Americans who plan to wager on the game feel it is important to do so with a regulated sportsbook.

“This data is an encouraging sign that our efforts to ground the expansion of sports betting in responsible gaming is taking hold,” Miller said. “Responsible gaming is core to legal sports betting’s long-term success, and this is borne out by continued demand for consumer protections only available in the legal market.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood (70) celebrates with the CFP National Championship trophy after beating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

CFP champion Alabama already 2022 favorite

The celebrations were barely underway Monday night after Alabama’s latest national title when the Crimson Tide were installed as one of the favorites to claim the championship again next year.

Clemson, which lost in a national semifinal on Jan. 1, is the co-favorite or second favorite at various sportsbooks.

BetMGM and DraftKings had Alabama at +300 and Clemson at +350. FanDuel listed the Crimson Tide at +350 and the Tigers at +400, with Georgia also at +400. SportsBetting.com tabbed Alabama at +300, Clemson at +400 and Georgia at +500.

Alabama and Clemson topped PointsBet’s list at +300, with Ohio State next at +500. The Buckeyes also were the third choice at DraftKings at +400, third at BetMGM at +500 and fourth at FanDuel at +600.

The fourth choice at DraftKings was Oklahoma at +800, with Georgia at +1400. The Sooners were the fourth choice at SportsBetting.com at +600 and the co-fourth choice at FanDuel at +600, along with Ohio State. Georgia and Oklahoma shared fourth for PointsBet at +800.

Top-ranked Alabama (13-0) demolished third-ranked Ohio State 52-24 on Monday at Miami Gardens, Fla., to give coach Nick Saban his record seventh national championship.

The Buckeyes (7-1) couldn’t control Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith, the Heisman Trophy winner, who piled up 215 yards and three touchdowns on 12 first-half receptions before exiting with an injury.

–Field Level Media

Feb 27, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert (QB07) and Louisiana State Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow (QB02) watch from the sidelines during the 2020 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Burrow out, Herbert in driver’s seat for offensive ROY

Joe Burrow won’t take another snap in 2020, setting the stage for Justin Herbert to swipe the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award down the stretch.

Burrow was lost for the season on Sunday with a torn ACL, MCL and peripheral damage. With the universal betting favorite for the OROY award gone, a red-hot Herbert jumped into the favorite’s role entering Week 12.

Herbert is now +100 at multiple sportsbooks, including FanDuel, BetRivers and PointsBet to win the award. DraftKings already listed Herbert as the favorite before Burrow went down on Sunday.

Though the Chargers are scuffling at 3-7, Los Angeles has found its quarterback.

Herbert is on pace to obliterate the NFL rookie record for TD passes (37). He has completed 238 of 350 passes (68 percent) for 2,699 yards — 299.9 yards per game — and has 22 touchdowns to six interceptions.

Tua Tagovailoa, drafted ahead of Herbert but behind Burrow in April, was benched Sunday in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick and lost ground in the OROY pecking order. Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool, who added a touchdown Sunday to his remarkable debut season, is the first rookie with 10 TD catches in the Super Bowl era. He’s at +1500 along with Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Jefferson, a first-round pick by Minnesota, is on pace to break the record for rookie receiving yards.

Jaguars running back James Robinson, the undrafted starter in Jacksonville, is at +1800 at FanDuel and DraftKings.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;  General view of the logo on the 50 yard line prior to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Conference postponements create havoc for sportsbooks

With the COVID-19 pandemic having a major impact on yet another sport, casinos and sportsbooks are once again scrambling to figure out how to adjust.

And in the wake of the Pac-12 and Big Ten announcing Tuesday that they have suspended all fall sports with no set return date, ESPN reported Wednesday that sportsbooks have stopped taking bets on college football, and are in the process of sorting out which futures bets are still valid and which are in line for a refund.

According to the report, Caesars Sportsbook, for instance, considers bets on teams from the Big Ten or Pac-12 to win the national championship still live since house rules dictate wagers are good as long as a national champion is declared in 2021.

Futures bets on a Heisman Trophy winner are also valid at Caesars, as long as the award is presented before March 31.

But BetMGM’s Jeff Stoneback told ESPN that if a champion is declared, their policy is that any bets on teams that did not play will be refunded.

“We would refund the teams that don’t play,” Stoneback said. “If you’ve got teams that are in there now and they play the season and a champion is declared, we’d pay off on that. If you’ve got LSU and they’re declared the winner, you’d get paid. If you have USC, we’ll give you a refund.”

Another potential headache for future bettors could arise if all Power 5 conferences suspend their seasons but one or more Group of Five conferences do play a season and the NCAA declares a national champion out of that group.

“If Drake plays Northern Iowa in what the NCAA says is the national championship game, then everyone’s on the hook,” Jeff Davis of Caesars told ESPN.

But some books specify that a team must win the “College Football Playoff Championship Game” in order for a futures bet on that team to pay out.

Other books, such as FanDuel, are simply freezing all bets, as well as potential refunds, as it waits to see how the fall season plays out. It is using what is known as an “act of God” stipulation in the house rules as it decides how to proceed.

“That’s a mess,” Stoneback told ESPN.

–Field Level Media

NFL Conference Championship Weekend: Over and Under Bets

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we’re making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we’re offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week.

Over and Under Best Bets

Take the over: New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs

Total: 56.5

The Chiefs remain vulnerable against the run. The Colts averaged 6.2 yards per rush against them but weren’t able to establish the run consistently due to the score.

Meanwhile, the Patriots have really discovered a strong running game thanks to the emergence of Sony Michel. Look for them to keep it on the ground and set things up for the passing game to take advantage of a secondary that is also beatable.

You know Tom Brady will get some shots in, and there’s little doubt Patrick Mahomes will do the same. New England’s run defense is also vulnerable — only the Rams surrendered more yards per carry than the Pats and Chiefs this season — and Damien Williams and Spencer Ware should have plenty of success setting up the passing game. Kansas City could also get a shot in the arm from the return of injured guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.

These teams combined for 83 points in their first meeting, and this should be another track meet. After initial weather concerns, the latest forecast indicates this game won’t be played in sub-zero temperatures after all, and I think both teams will have just enough in them on offense to push this one into the 60s.

Predicted score: Chiefs 34, Patriots 28

Take the under: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints

Total: 56

Dating back to Week 13, the Saints have averaged fewer than 20 points per game. And while they scored 45 points the last time they faced Los Angeles, Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is too smart to let that happen again. Look for Aqib Talib — who didn’t play in that first meeting — to do a better job against productive star Saints receiver Michael Thomas, and don’t be surprised if underrated Rams linebacker Cory Littleton limits Alvin Kamara’s damage.

That could make life real tough against a defensive front featuring defensive player of the year shoo-in Aaron Donald as well as Ndamukong Suh, who looks inspired thus far in January.

And while the Rams also scored 35 points in that Week 9 meeting, that offense has also been less stable and consistent without Cooper Kupp down the stretch.

The Saints defense is certainly beatable, but keep in mind that New Orleans completely shut down the Eagles for three and a half quarters on Sunday and has surrendered 17 or fewer points in seven of its last nine games.

Not even sure this one will hit 50.

Predicted score: Rams 24, Saints 23

Good luck, we’re all counting on you.

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NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend: Over and Under Best Bets

NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend: Over and Under Best Bets

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we’re making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we’re offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of the week: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams

Total: 49

The Cowboys offense has come alive. Dak Prescott is playing well, Ezekiel Elliott has picked up steam and the offensive line is healthier than it was during much of the regular season. As a result, Dallas has averaged 32.3 points per game the last three weeks.

Meanwhile, the Rams might not be projected to load up on points considering the way they finished the regular season — they averaged “just” 27.0 points per game during the final four weeks of the year — but they still averaged a league-high 37.1 points per game at home this season, and star running back Todd Gurley is now healthier than he’s been in weeks.

Both defenses have stellar playmakers, but the Rams have the league’s worst run D in terms of rushing yards allowed per attempt. That bodes well for Elliott. The Dallas D is excellent against the run but remains vulnerable through the air and struggled when defending running backs in the passing game. And that, of course, bodes well for Gurley and the rest of L.A.’s high-powered, innovative offense.

It’d be a huge surprise if the Cowboys and Rams didn’t combine for 50-plus points Saturday night in front of a split crowd at the L.A. Coliseum.

Predicted score: Cowboys 30, Rams 27

Under of the week: Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs

Total: 57.5

Whaaaat?

OK, the Chiefs have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and that unit was at its worst when it gave up 35.6 points per game between Week 11 and Week 16 before recovering in finale against Raiders. But let’s not forget that Indy’s shockingly strong defense has surrendered a league-low 15.5 points per game dating back to Week 7.

Both offenses will undoubtedly move the ball and find the end zone, but I get the feeling oddsmakers have given too much credit to NFL touchdown pass leaders Patrick Mahomes and Andrew Luck and not enough credit to Indy’s all-around stellar D and Kansas City’s under-the-radar pass-rush.

The Chiefs can be had on the ground and in the secondary, but don’t be surprised if Bob Sutton dials up some stops with his sneaky-good pass-rush, and be less surprised if the still-mistake-prone Mahomes experiences some growing pains in his first career playoff start.

After all, the same thing happened to Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky last week, as well as Jared Goff in his maiden playoff voyage last January.

This game won’t be low-scoring by any stretch, but I doubt these teams combine for more than 50 points.

Predicted score: Colts 27, Chiefs 24

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

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