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

NFL Week 10 Expert Handicapper Notes from Scott Spreitzer

We finished the weekend 9-5-1 this past week.  We’re also on a 24-11 CFB run the last 5 weeks and we’re 40-21-1 with our last 62 NFL plays overall. We have a 7-Unit CFB Main Event Game of the Month on Saturday and 6- and 5-unit NFL plays going on Sunday! We enter on a 12-1-1 CFB/NFL top plays run. Be sure to grab it all this week!

 

You can get a free $60 account and get Scott’s top College and NFL picks this week at docsports.com

 

NFL WEEK 10 RECAP:


JAGUARS 26-29 COLTS:
Bortles 26-38-320-2. Fournette 53 yards 24 carries…56 rec yards, TD. Bortles still throwing too many passes for my blood. Indy 29 first half points…held scoreless in the 2nd half. Luck 21-29-285-3-1. Jags turnover inside the Colts 25 in the final minutes. Lost 5 straight games…trail Texans by 3 games in the division. Colts 36 ppg during 3 game winning streak. Luck 3 or more TD passes in 6 straight games.

 

BILLS 41-10 JETS: Bills 4 starting QBs last 5 games. Jets 4 straight losses. 4th losing streak of 4 or more games in 4 seasons under Todd Bowles. Barkley 15-25-232-2. L.McCoy 113 yards 26 carries 2 TD. Foster & Jones 11 combined rec 198 yards, 1 TD. Bills had 1 TD and 11 turnovers previous 3 games…5 TDs and 0 turnovers against the Jets. McCown 17-34-135-0-2.

 

FALCONS 16-28 BROWNS: ATL had 73 plays to Cleveland’s 50…but Browns averaged 8.5 yards per play…thanks in part to the 90+ yard run by Nick Chubb 20-176-TD. Mayfield’s best game as a pro 17-20-216-3-0. 9 different players with a catch – and the most by any player was 4. Jones, Hooper, Sanu 23 rec between the 3 of them…another big statistical day for Matt Ryan 38-52-330-2-0.

 

LIONS 22-34 BEARS: Bears snapped 10-game divisional losing streak. Trubisky 23-30-355-3-0…and 1 rushing TD (17 TD, 4 INT last 6 games). Big time miscommunication in the Lions’ secondary. Allen Robinson 6 rec 133 yards 2 TD. Miller 5 rec 122 yards, 1 TD. Stafford 25-42-274-2-2. Kerryon Johnson held in-check again 14 carries 51 yards, TD. Stafford sacked 6 times…(16 sacks in 2 games without Golden Tate to open up the field). Bears 6-3…11 points from a 9-0 record. 33 ppg during 3 game win streak. Bears 6 games with 3 or more takeaways — best in the NFL.

 

CARDINALS 14-26 CHIEFS: Mahomes 21-28-249-2. Kareem Hunt 16 carries 71 yards. Tyreek Hill 7 rec 117 yards 2 TDs. Kelce 6 rec 46 yards.

Rosen 22-39-208-1-2. David Johnson 21 carries 98 yards RD…85 rec yards, TD. AGAIN – YOU CAN RUN on the Chiefs. AZ is the only team without 100 yards rushing on the season…but if Johnson gets 1 more carry. AZ has failed to top 18 points in 8 of 9 games.

 

PATRIOTS 10-34 TITANS: Tennessee sacked Brady 3 times and put constant pressure on him. Brady 21-41-254 (Brady with just 1 TD pass last 3 games). Edelman 9 rec 104 yards. Gordon 4 rec 81 yards. Mariota 16-24-228-2-0 (3rd game with 2 or more TD passes…team is 3-0). Henry & Lewis 31 combined carries 115 yards 2 TDs. Davis 7 rec 125 yards TD. Pats failed to reach the red-zone in the 2nd half…0 points final 9 possessions. Worst loss since a 41-14 loss to KC in Sept 2014. The next week NE was +1 vs. Cincy and won 43-17…the 1st of a 7 game win streak…and won the SBOWL that season. 7-3 worst NE start in 5 years…lost in the conf championship to Denver that season. Tenn 13-3 last 16 home games. Out-rushed NE 150-40. Mike Vrabel knew to rush Brady up the middle and take away the middle. Tenny put a ton into this one win…@ Colts next week.

 

CHARGERS 20-6 RAIDERS: Big LAC TD pass with :20 left in the half to go up 10-3. Early 3rd…Melvin Gordon 66 yard TD pass and catch…screen…Raiders missed tackled inside the first 10 yards (Gordon 5 straight games with 120 or more scrimmage yards…first Charger since LT). Derek Carr 4th & 5 inside Charger 20 with 4 min to go…throws a pass in the turf to avoid a sack…4th down…Carr is all messed up between the ears at this point…making mental mistakes galore. Rivers only QB with 2 or more TD passes in every game this season. LAC 6 game winning streak. Held 5 straight opp’s to fewer than 20 points. Raiders 10 ppg during 5 game skid.

 

DOLPHINS 12-31 GREEN BAY: Packers got the ground game going early. Aaron Jones 145 yards 15 carries 2 TDs. Rodgers 19-28-199-2-0 (17 TDs 1 INT this season). Osweiler 23-37-213-0-1. Gore 13 carries 90 yards. 9 quarters without an offensive TD for Miami. Fins 5th double digit loss this season. Allowing 34 ppg during 4 game skid. Allowed 150 or more rush yards 5 times this season…worst in the NFL. GBAY 4-0-1 home…0-4 road. Packers @ Seattle on Thursday.

 

SKINS 16-3 BUCCS: Story of the game: Buccs 501 yards on 7.5 yards per play, but scored just 3 points (1st team in NFL history to score 3 points or fewer with 500 yards of offense). Held Skins to 286 yards. Alex Smith 19-27-178-1. A. Peterson 19 carries 68 yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick 29-41-406-0-2. Godwin & Rodgers 15 combined rec 205 yards. Buccs were 0-5 in the red zone. Skins 6-0 when rush for 100 or more yards. Held 6 opp’s to fewer than 18 points. Buccs -19 turnover margin this season…worst in the NFL. Buccs 7 straight games with -2 or more turnover margin…2nd longest in NFL history.

 

SAINTS 51-14 BENGALS: Brees 22-25-265-3-0…1 rush TD (Brees 21 TDs only 1 INT season). Ingram 13 carries 104 yards 58 rec yards 1 TD. Kamara 12 carries 56 yards 2 TD. Michael Thomas 8 rec 70 yards 2 TDs. Dalton 12-20-153-1-2. Saints 6 TDs 3 FGs first 9 possessions. 5-0 on the road this season. 5 games with 40 or more points. Cincy has allowed at least 30 points 5 games this season…allowing nearly 40 ppg last 4 games.

 

SEAHAWKS 31-36 RAMS: C.Kupp out for season. R. Wilson 17-26-176-3-0. 92 yards rushing. Wilson 6 TDs 0 INTs vs. Rams…62 points scored…0-2. Penny 12 carries 108 yards (you CAN RUN on the Rams). Seattle 273 rushing yards on 8 yards per carry (6 straight games with at least 150 yards rushing). Goff 28-39-318-2-0. Gurley 16 carries 120 yards TD. Cooks 10 rec 100 yards 1 rush TD. SEA 4-5…5 losses by 25 points. Rams can clinch NFC West next week with a win over KC and a Sea loss to GB. Aaron Donald 8.5 sacks last 4 games. (When Aqib Talib returns).

 

COWBOYS 27-20 EAGLES: Too many secondary injuries for the Eagles and the offensive line wasn’t healthy.  Philly 421 yards and 6.8 yards per play. Dallas 171 yards on 6.1 yards per carry. Elliott 151 yards rushing on 8 yards per carry. Dak 26-36-270-1-0. Amari Cooper targeted 10 times…6 grabs…opens up the field. Wentz & Ertz had big numbers for Philly.

NY GIANTS 27-23 SAN FRANCISCO: Total combined yards played out like an Under…but the game went Over on the final TD. Eli 19-31-188-3-0. Nick Mullens 27-39-250-1-2 INTs. Giants had film on Mullens, which wasn’t the case the previous week. NYG offensive line finally protected Manning for the most part…and the team ran for 4 yards per carry.

 

Scott Spreitzer has spent 25+ years in the world of sports betting and he’s been one of the few bettors/handicappers to be accepted and sought after on several national radio shows as the key go-to analyst with a Vegas perspective. Scott dominates the ESPN national airwaves during football season. He’s the featured bettor/handicapper on the Dari and Mel show, appearing every football Saturday for the past four years with Dari Nowkhah and Mel Kiper, Jr., a show heard on over 300 ESPN affiliates. Scott doubles back every Sunday morning on ESPN National’s NFL Sunday Countdown with Kevin Winter (4 years running). And he kicked off this past football season each and every Friday as the regular betting expert on the Mike Golic, Jr., show. Scott’s even had his Vegas-centric information repeated on college football live game broadcasts by the likes of Kirk Herbstreit. If you tune into ESPN national on football weekends, you’re bound to hear Scott.