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

Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson holds onto this pass in the end zone against Bills cornerback Levi Wallace.  Pittsburgh went on to win 23-16.

Jg 091221 Bills 2b

Betting records shattered on NFL opening weekend

Betting records were shattered on the opening weekend of the 2021 NFL season with nearly 60 million transactions recorded by U.S. sportsbooks.

With legally licensed sportsbooks now operating in 26 states and Washington D.C., 58.2 million betting transactions were recorded Thursday to Sunday by GeoComply, which provides geolocation services to sportsbooks.

GeoComply said Monday — when the final game of Week 1 will be played — that New Jersey had the highest number of bettors, ahead of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois.

“The data tells a remarkable story about the growth of the industry in a short period of time,” said Lindsay Slader, managing director of gaming for GeoComply.

The increase in U.S. transactions was measured at an uptick of 126 percent.

Underdogs were 11-4 against the spread, starting with the Dallas Cowboys covering an 8.5-point spread in the first game of the season Thursday night at Tampa. There were eight outright upsets, which typically represent big victories for sportsbooks.

–Field Level Media

Aug 8, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive back Josh Shaw (27) during a preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL reinstates CB Josh Shaw from suspension

Jan 9, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers (90) in action against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL reinstated free-agent cornerback Josh Shaw from suspension for violating league rules against gambling.

Shaw was suspended in November 2019 through at least the 2020 season by the NFL for betting on a game. He pulled his appeal and agreed to the suspension.

He signed with Arizona in March 2019 but never played a regular-season game with the Cardinals. He was placed on injured reserved with a shoulder injury the August before the season started.

No evidence was found that indicated Shaw used inside information or “that any game was compromised in any way,” the NFL said at the time of the suspension, adding, “Nor was there evidence suggesting any awareness by teammates, coaches or other players of his betting activity.”

ESPN reported days after Shaw’s suspension that he was believed to have bet on the Cardinals’ Week 10 game in the 2019 season, a 30-27 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Shaw, who turns 29 on Saturday, was a fourth-round pick of Bengals in the 2015 NFL Draft. In 55 career games with the Bengals (2015-17), Kansas City Chiefs (2018) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2018), he has one interception, seven passes defensed and 127 tackles.

–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.

Previous results
Last week: 2-0
2018 season: 23-14-1

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. 

Previous results
Last week: 2-0
2018 season: 21-14-1

NFL Wild Card Weekend: Over and Under Best Bets

NFL Wild Card 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: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys

Total: 42.5

Just 34 percent of games involving the Seahawks or Cowboys fell short of the total this season, and Saturday’s over/under of 42.5 indicates we’re still under-estimating both teams’ ability to score points.

The Cowboys put up 63 points in their final two games of the regular season and averaged 25.0 points per game at home this season, while Seattle scored 65 points in its last two games and averaged 26.8 points per game overall.

That made the Seahawks offense the sixth-highest-scoring unit in football, thanks partly to the league’s highest-ranked running game and a suddenly-respectable offensive line. Plus, Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett have been crushing it in that receiving corps,

Meanwhile Amari Cooper has teamed up with Ezekiel Elliott to give Dallas one of the most dangerous offenses in the game. The Cowboys scored at least 27 points in five of their last eight games with Cooper, and Elliott once again gained steam during the second half of the season.

That doesn’t bode well for a Seahawks run defense that surrendered 4.9 yards per carry during the regular season, especially as the Dallas offensive line gets healthier.

Predicted score: Cowboys 26, Seahawks 23

Under of the week: Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens

Total: 42

I can’t comprehend why this total is above 40. After all, the Los Angeles Chargers offense has gone a little cold, scoring just 33 points in their last two regular-season games. Just 10 of those points came in Week 16 against these Ravens, who scored just 16 offensive points of their own in that prime-time matchup.

Baltimore’s top-rated defense surrendered just 17.9 points per game during the regular season, while the Chargers ranked in the top 10 with just 20.6 points per game allowed.

Look for Baltimore’s D — which has been known to rise to occasions in the playoffs — to be just as strong at home as it was in that road victory over the Chargers. And look for L.A. to do an even better job at limiting the Ravens’ unique rushing attack, now that it has more tape and experience to work from.

It’s a lot easier to trust these defenses than these offenses, especially considering the Chargers’ history with big-game duds and L.A.’s turnover-filled final few games of the 2018 regular season.

Predicted score: Ravens 20, Chargers 17

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 0-2
2018 season: 19-14-1

NFL Week 13: 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: Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers

Total: 51

It’s not as though 51 isn’t a high number, but I wonder if the total for Sunday night’s Chargers-Steelers game would be significantly higher if the Bolts weren’t without star running back Melvin Gordon.

If indeed the total has fallen as a result of Gordon’s injury, that could be a mistake. Because Gordon’s backup, Austin Ekeler, has been fantastic. The versatile second-year back is averaging 5.8 yards per carry (more than half a yard better than Gordon) and he’s coming off a 10-catch performance in a blowout victory over the Cardinals.

The Chargers might not score 45 points in Pittsburgh like they did against Arizona, but they should be good for at least 24. They have a better offense than Denver, and the Broncos put up 24 on the Steelers a week ago.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh offense will be hungry to bounce back following a tough road loss to the Broncos. The Steelers are averaging 36.0 points per game at home this season, and they should make a run at that number in what is a huge prime-time game.

Predicted score: Steelers 34, Broncos 26

Under of the week: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Total: 56.5

Carolina and Tampa Bay combined for 70 points when they met last month, which explains why the total is up above 56 for their meeting Sunday in Florida. But expect a correction in this matchup, especially now that…

1. The Bucs defense has straightened out at home, surrendering just 16.0 points per game in their last three outings at Raymond James Stadium.

2. Jameis Winston looks to be back on track at quarterback for the Bucs, which could mean fewer turnovers and thus fewer short fields for Tampa’s opponent.

3. The Carolina offense has come back to earth after a hot streak and is averaging a so-so 22.3 points per game in the last three weeks.

4. The Panthers haven’t scored more than 24 points in a road game this season.

This one might not even come close.

Predicted score: Panthers 27, Buccaneers 13

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 1-0-1
2018 season: 15-8-1

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 12

Key takeaways from week 11:

  • Rams Saints and Chiefs are still favorites to win Super Bowl 53
  • Raiders have the lowest odds at 2500/1
  • Biggest jump: New York Giants (+60%)
  • Biggest drop: Arizona Cardinals (-100%)
  • No change: Raiders, Bills, 49ers, Jets, Browns, Patriots, Rams (0%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

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NFL Wild Card Weekend: Over and Under Best Bets

NFL Week 12: 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: Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers

Total: 47

The Seahawks offense has come alive with 27 or more points in five of its last six games, while a still-vulnerable defense has surrendered 85 points in the last three weeks.

Sunday in Carolina, Russell Wilson and Co. should have plenty of opportunities to roast a Panthers defense that earlier this month allowed 28 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 52 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, while a run defense that has struggled could have trouble with Christian McCaffrey and Cam Newton.

We might still be getting used to the reality that both of these teams are offensively driven, which could also explain why the total for Sunday’s potential shootout is only 47.

The key here is that both teams should have plenty of opportunities to move the ball down the field. The Seahawks haven’t registered a takeaway since October, while the Panthers have gone back-to-back games since causing a turnover.

Predicted score: Panthers 30, Seahawks 27

Under of the week: Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts

Total: 51

Indianapolis Colts games have been going over like crazy as Indy’s offense has broken out in recent weeks, but a total of 51 is still too high for a matchup between the Colts and Miami Dolphins.

After all, the Dolphins have been held to 13 or fewer points in back-to-back games and quarterback Ryan Tannehill remains a question mark with a shoulder injury. That could make things extremely difficult on the road against a young and emerging Indianapolis defense that has surrendered 10 or fewer points in two of its last three home games.

Could a toothless Miami defense be in trouble against the red-hot Andrew Luck? Sure, but the Dolphins are only a couple games removed from a superb performance on D against the New York Jets, and Indy’s offense could be due for a down week with center Ryan Kelly now dealing with a knee injury.

The Colts might need well over 35 points to get this game over the total, and that’s simply unlikely.

Predicted score: Colts 27, Dolphins 13

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 0-2
2018 season: 14-8