Conference Championships Odds: Betting On The Eagles’ Connections

Will Andy Reid and his Kansas City Chiefs earn an opportunity to defend their Super Bowl crown or will the Buffalo Bills extend their current win streak?

Familiar faces dot the NFL playoff landscape. The Philadelphia Eagles did not make the postseason, but leave a footprint on the sport’s final four playoff teams.

Three of their former coaches headline the four Super Bowl finalists as the NJ sports betting crowd gears up for Sunday’s conference championship games.

NFC: Green Bay Packers versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3:05 p.m. FOX
AFC: Kansas City Chiefs versus the Buffalo Bills, 6:40 p.m. CBS

Both are rematches, won earlier by Tampa Bay and Kansas City, respectively

Andy Reid of the Chiefs, Sean McDermott of the Bills and Todd Bowles from the Bucs are the celebrated Eagles’ alumnus in the post-season spotlight.

And they headline this week’s Odds Five.

Eagles reunion: Reid vs. McDermott

Reid’s defending Super Bowl champs are slightly favored against one his disciples, McDermott, in the AFC Championship Game.

The line indicates the expectation that Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes, knocked out of the divisional-round game against the Cleveland Browns, will be cleared to play. Mahomes missed the fourth quarter and Kansas City nearly coughed up the lead before hanging on to a 22-17 triumph.

The fact that there is a line also is important. If the sportsbooks believed Mahomes was not going to play, this game would have been temporarily off the board.

As far as the Eagles connect goes, Reid coached the Eagles from 2003-2012. McDermott was a defensive coordinator under Reid.

Closer look at the Super Bowl champs

Kansas City bettors could call him St. Patrick. With Mahomes, the all-world quarterback, the Chiefs amassed a 19-3 halftime lead against the Browns, scoring on all four first half possessions and accumulating 293 yards.

And then came the play that put the team’s future in peril. Mahomes tried a quarterback rollout with his team nursing a 19-10 third-quarter lead. He already had sustained a foot injury earlier in the game. But Reid called a run-pass option and Mahomes suffered a massive hit. He was knocked out of the game.

Chad Henne came on in relief and guided the Chiefs to a field goal. And he made two late plays to clinch the 22-17 triumph, but the confidence surge for the Browns after Mahomes’ departure was palpable. Kansas City’s defense of its Super Bowl title nearly ended.

The betting line will tell you everything you need to know about Mahomes’ condition. Based on initial post-game tests, one would figure him to be cleared to play against Buffalo. That’s why the line was slightly under a field goal.

No Mahomes?

Then Buffalo would be favored, and maybe by more than a field goal.

Chiefs bettors take a wait-and-see approach to the line. Some Buffalo bettors gambled on the medical report. They make the bet as though Mahomes will play. If he does not, they still get 2.5 points when the Bills would actually be giving points if Mahomes can’t go. If he does play, nothing is lost. The line reflects the belief Mahomes will start.

Buffalo Bills coming up big

There is a different hero every week for the Bills. In the season finale against the Miami Dolphins, it was Isaiah McKenzie notching three second-quarter touchdowns, one on a punt return.

Against the Indianapolis Colts in the first playoff round, it was quarterback Josh Allen overcoming his team’s weak defense, which allowed nearly 500 scrimmage yards.

But in the second playoff round, against the Baltimore Ravens, the defense saved the day.

With Buffalo leading 10-3 and the Ravens about to score the tying TD, Taron Johnson picked Lamar Jackson and went 101 yards for the back-breaking score.

How big is that? Johnson intercepted the ball in his own end zone and rumbled all the way into the Ravens’ end zone.

On the following series, the defense knocked Jackson out of the game.

Who will step up this week?

There has been a magical air of destiny for the Bills, who keep improving to make each required step for advancement. Buffalo has won eight in a row. And look who the Bills are beating: the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Colts and the Ravens, among others.

Can they add the Chiefs to that list?

Mr. Rodgers lifts the Pack

Why is Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers worth roughly nine points to the betting line?

His performance in Green Bay’s 32-18 triumph over the Los Angeles Rams in the division round provides an indication. Rodgers made key plays just as it looked like the Rams could contain him in the divisional victory over LA.

When the Packers snapped a 3-3 tie, Rodgers completed an innovative third-down scoring play. Devante Adams started in motion, came across the field and Rodgers hit him with a quick 1-yard touchdown play. The Rams had appeared poised to stop the drive.

With the score 10-3 Rodgers made another acrobatic third-down play. After being flushed out of the pocket, he faked a defender out of position, scrambled right and ran into the corner of the end zone.

At the end of the half, he made a 33-yard completion after being flushed from the pocket and with a defender draped over him. That led to a field goal on the final play of the half.

Three Rodgers gems. Three plays worth 11 points to the Packers. That accounts for two touchdowns rather than field goals and the field goal they did make.

And thus we have the matchup of Rodgers’ magical qualities versus the Tampa Bay defense, which caused four turnovers in its 30-20 dismantling of the New Orleans Saints.

The Bucs and the bucks

DraftKings Sportsbook has its biggest Super Bowl liability with the Bucs, who soared from 50-1 down to roughly 15-1 in the days after Tom Brady was decided to leave the New England Patriots for them.

Brady did not even have to do the heavy lifting in Tampa Bay’s win over the Saints. Bowles’ defense did with the four takeaways. It was the Bowles’ finest hour as a defensive coordinator.

Brady also led the team to 17 unanswered points on three consecutive possessions after New Orleans failed to put the game away in the second half.

Just as the Tampa Bay-New Orleans line disregarded New Orleans’ two previous trouncing of Tampa Bay, this line ignores an earlier game too. Remember that midseason shocker when these teams met? Bucs 38, Packers 10.

It’s a new day, a new game and snow is expected in the forecast. Either quarterback is comfortable in those circumstances.

As a side not, Super Bowl 55 is being played in Tampa.

NFL final four: When you’re hot, you’re hot

No wonder it’s hard to separate the final four teams. Look at their winning streaks, bridging the regular and postseason. It comes to 32 straight triumphs:

  • Green Bay, seven
  • Tampa Bay, six
  • Kansas City, 11 (if you count not resting their players in the meaningless Week 17 game)
  • Buffalo,  eight

That’s some quality football. The bettors, and the public, should be in for a treat Sunday.

AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

 

 

Looking at NFL Boosts And Super Bowl Odds Of Eight Remaining Playoff Teams

With eight NFL teams still in the running to become Super Bowl champs, NJ sports bettors have a full menu of wagering options with NJ online sportsbooks.

The betting public still expects a Green Bay Packers-Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl.

But there is value everywhere, as the second round of the playoffs begin. This weekend’s games will substantially alter the odds, so New Jersey online sportsbook bettors observe the best deal possible right now.

Here is a look at the latest Super Bowl odds:

But come Sunday night, only four of these teams will be left on the board.

 Eagles are out, but FanDuel offering odds on next coach

And in the spirt of futures, what would an NFL coaching change be without speculation?

FanDuel Sportsbook now has odds on the next Philadelphia Eagles coach to replace Doug Pederson.

Robert Saleh (+200), the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator, was the early favorite but his name is off the board. He is the new head coach of the New York Jets. So who does that leave?

Well, as of Friday afternoon, Duce Staley, the current Eagles assistant head coach and former running back, was leading the field at +200. This is after being +700 earlier this week.

Here are some of the other contenders:

  • Joe Brady +400
  • Mike Kafka +450
  • Brian Daboll +650
  • Eric Bieniemy +700
  • Arthur Smith +800

Any candidate will have to contend with the possibility of meddling from the Eagles front office regarding personnel. It is hard to handicap which candidate can accept that. This scenario changes often, stay tuned.

On to weekend playoff games

Now that the weekend is here, the focus shifts to the four NFL Divisional Playoff games. Here is the schedule:

Significant odds boosts apply to each weekend game. Some may play well into your perception of the game.

Interesting NFL Divisional round options

DraftKings Sportsbook is offering  bettors the option of taking the chalk across the board. The operator has boosted the prospect of all four favorites winning to +365. This shows bettors the premium of the Bucs-Saints and Bills-Ravens as close games.

Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen to secure rushing TDs in the Bills-Ravens game has gone up to +400.

FanDuel Sportsbook is offering  some razzle-dazzle, too.

How do you make money on the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC? They are at +200  at FanDuel. One can succeed by including a Chiefs championship into a previous bet.

The sportsbook posted an interesting elimination special, listing the odds of which teams will eliminate others from the playoffs.

Kansas City to eliminate the Ravens is +260, and  to eliminate the Bills is +195. You are banking on Kansas City beating Cleveland as a lopsided pick and then defeating whomever survives the Bills-Ravens game.  You can even make a few bucks if you play both sides.

This is a neat way to improve your odds on the Chiefs, if you already like them to win the AFC.

Fox Bet + NFL Playoff odds boosts

Here are some boosts available for all four games from Fox Bet.

First up is the Rams-Packers. 

Here’s an even-money shot. Can each team notch two or more touchdowns and one or more field goals? That’s been boosted from -110 to +100, essentially eliminating the vig. This is a statement about whether the Rams can notch two TD’s. They are a ball control offense.

Green Bay QB  Aaron Rodgers to throw two or more touchdowns and 300 or more yards is now paying +300, up from +250. That seems reasonable for him.

The variable is determining how good the Rams defense is. It has been hot lately, but Rodgers is Rodgers. In taking this prop, you are hoping for at least one long completion.

Packer’s receiver Davante Adams to notch more than 100 yards and a touchdown has gone from +250 to +300, which is excellent value.

Looking at Lamar Jackson vs. Josh Allen

Each team to score two touchdowns and notch two field goals is worth +250, boosted from +200. The Bill and Ravens  both accomplished the feat last week.

Can Bills receiver Stefan Diggs tally 100 yards and notch a TD? The yes is +200.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for 146 yards last week. He’s part of a prop this week that plays into that. If Jackson and Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen combine for 125 yards, it will pay +150, up from  +120.

Bets on players to score first or in the first quarter are good complements to anytime scoring, but they come with time risk. With that in mind, Jackson has been boosted from+500 to +600 to score a rushing TD in the first quarter.

Super Bowl champion Chiefs versus Browns

Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes to notch 300 or more passing yards and three or more passing TDs has been boosted from +150 to +200.

Tyreek Hill, raw Chiefs star wide receiver,  is worth +215 if he is able to notch a touchdown and attain 100 yards. These two categories often go together for him as Hill is targeted on many deep balls.

The vig has disappeared for Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield. His prop to throw for at least 200 yards and two passing touchdowns has improved from -133 to +100.

There’s a big difference between two touchdowns thrown and three. Just ask the bettors who had Tom Brady to notch three passing scores against the Washington Football Team last week.  Brady’s third TD pass was reversed on replay and the next play was a running score.

The props for Mahomes and Mayfield also indicate the expectation of a high-scoring game.

Speaking of Brady, NFL Divisional Weekend wraps up with Tampa Bay at New Orleans.

Brady is in another touchdown-tossing prop this week. If Brady and Saints quarterback Drew Brees each throw two touchdowns, it pays +150, up from +100.

You can usually count on Brady, but Brees is a mystery. There’s the chance of running back Alvin Kamara or back-up QB Taysom Hill pirating at least one of his scores.

Brees himself nearly collected one last week. He did the flying leap to place the ball over the goal line and quickly pull it back on a QB sneak. However, he pulled the ball back too early. No score.

Then there is Kamara to score a first-quarter touchdown, which is now  paying +400, up from +300.

Michael Thomas of the Saints and Antonio Brown of the Bucs have a yardage prop of 150 combined. Seems like an easy one right?  It is now at +100 after being -125.

On the Tampa Bay end, Rob Gronkowski and Mike Evans to both score touchdowns has been boosted to +700. You wre weighing the New Orleans defense and Brady’s recent resurgence with Brown into that prop.

AP Photo/Brad Penner

 

NJ Sets All-Time Record With $6 Billion In Yearly Sports Wagers

Technically, the Garden State took in $1 billion in December NJ sports betting wagers. The $996.3 million handle makes it five straight months of records.

A monumental final month of 2020 helped New Jersey set an all-time annual record of more than $6 billion in total sports betting handle last year.

Gamblers placed more than $996.3 million in total wagers with Garden State sportsbooks in December, according to data released Wednesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement

This is yet another all-time monthly record for any legal U.S. sports betting jurisdiction, Nevada included.

December NJ sports betting revenue came in at $66.4 million.

Online sports betting still big winner

Like previous months, the bulk of the action came via the 19 NJ sports betting apps. They accounted for more than 93% ($929.3 million) of the total monthly handle in December. 

More than $5.53 billion, or 92%, of the 2020 annual sports betting handle was from online wagers.

NJ enjoyed record-breaking 2020

December was the fifth consecutive month that New Jersey set a U.S. record in sports betting handle. Here’s a look at the recent monthly handle:

New Jersey’s 2020 sports betting handle is $1.4 billion more than the $4.58 billion reported last year, an increase of 24% year-over-year. Even more remarkable is that there were no major professional or collegiate sports to bet on in April, May and June of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

NJ sports betting revenue saw an increase of 33.1% over 2019. The 2020 total came in $398.5 million versus $299.3 for ’19.

FanDuel Sportsbook crushed the competition

Meadowlands Racetrack, the land-based partner of FanDuel Sportsbook and PointsBet NJ, is the biggest winner when it comes to NJ sports betting revenue.

The Meadowlands reported $33.2 million in December. It is NJ Gambling Sites’ understanding that FanDuel accounts for the bulk of the reported revenue.

To put that number into perspective, the nine Atlantic City license holders reported combined revenue of $28.9 million for the same period.

For the entire year, the Meadowlands and its online partners generated more sports betting revenue ($206.5 million) than every Atlantic City casino and their online operators combined ($166.3 million).

In terms of other license holders, Resorts Digital (DraftKings Sportsbook, Fox Bet, and Resorts) placed a distant second with $100.9 million for the year.

Inches away from first $1-billion month

NJ barely missed $1 billion of monthly sports betting wagers in December, but the milestone is not impossible to reach.

With the NFL Playoffs, the recently completed NCAA College Football Playoff championship game, plus NBA and NHL regular-season action in January, NJ sportsbooks have a $1 billion month squarely in their sights.

The wild card for NJ sports betting is just how much of an impact regional competition will have. Pennsylvania’s online sports betting market is growing and New York appears ready to enter the fray.

But in 2020, NJ was king of the sports betting hill.

AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman

Football Five: Doug Pederson’s Odds On Becoming Jets Next Coach

Since being fired as head coach of the Eagles earlier this week, Doug Pederson has become part of a futures wager at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is a now prop bet.

Only in the NJ sports betting world can a fired head coach spark betting. Pederson, canned by the Eagles one day and a futures wager  the next, headlines our weekly Football Five.

New Jersey online sports bettors love the rumor mill, especially when it is actionable.

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Who will coach the Eagles? Look at the Jets first

Where the Jets go will influence where the Eagles direct their efforts.

Following his firing, Pederson became the frontrunner (+300) for the Jets job at FanDuel Sportsbook. As of early Wednesday morning, his odds shifted to +650 as San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh moved into the top spot (+100).

Here is a look at the FanDuel odds on the next Jets head coach as of Tuesday.

If Pederson gains that position, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll (+850) and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (+850) become available for Philadelphia. Both were the early favorites for the Jets job.

Other notable rumors for the Eagles include Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, Tampa Bay Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and  Saleh, a name worth a long look.

Saleh, a defensive coordinator, has already become a finalist for the Jets job. It’s only been a question of when, not if, he becomes a head coach. The Jets may be a more natural fit for him, but the Eagles could use someone to light a fire under the entire team.

Bieniemy, the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs, is another assistant likely to land a head-coaching position. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie likes Andy Reid’s input, that’s how he got Pederson in the first place, so Bieniemy makes sense. But other teams want him as well.

Then there is Bowles. Remember him?

He had three straight losing seasons with the Jets. How crazy would it be for the Eagles to select the former Jets coach and the Jets to recycle Pederson? Can’t find a prop for that.

Bowles also was the secondary coach for the Birds in 2012.

Eagles will likely interview Duce Staley, too

There’s a common denominator with the candidates. Philadelphia’s long-term contract with quarterback Carson Wentz is a lasso around the neck of whomever takes the job. The Eagles are committed to Wentz and the new coach will experience friction if he wants to bench Wentz at some point.

The successful candidate must be on board with Wentz, who regressed badly this past season but was also left vulnerable by a weak offensive line. What the odds can’t tell you is what candidate will accept this stipulation.

Expect Duce Staley’s name to be included on the list of interview candidates. The former Eagles player served as assistant head coach and running backs coach under Pederson.

Stay tuned. Rumors, and odds, change often.

What about the NFL Divisional Playoff odds?

The NFL Playoffs resume Saturday and Sunday with the final eight teams competing in the divisional round. Here is the weekend slate:

Early splits from DraftKings Sportsbook show the public loves all four “overs,” with the Cleveland-Kansas City game getting the highest endorsement 89%, even at the highest total, 56.5.

Early betting saw the public loving Green Bay the most. Here’s the support level:

  • Green Bay 84%
  • Buffalo 61%
  • Kansas City 60%
  • Tampa Bay 59%

Rams are the NFL chameleons

They do the unexpected.

The Los Angeles Rams flopped as a 17-point favorite and became the first team the Jets beat this year. And then they toppled the Seattle Seahawks, who had beaten the Jets by 37 points, in the Wild Card round.

Just to reach the postseason they defeated the Arizona Cardinals behind backup quarterback John Wolford.

The Rams defense turned that game around with a late first-half defensive score.

And they repeated the feat against the Seahawks. A Pick 6 put Seattle up 13-3 and Jared Goff, who had to replace the injured Wolford, gutted out an efficient performance.

Can the Rams do it again?

They face Aaron Rodgers, enjoying the best year of his life with 48 touchdowns versus five interceptions. The Rams want ball control, the Packers a track meet.

Weather is always a big variable in cold-weather cities. The forecast for this game is under 30 degrees, with winds at less than 10 mph. May feel like 20 degrees. For the Rams, it could have been worse.

Bills and Ravens look good on either side

The Bills opened at -1.5 across the major NJ online sportsbooks and early Buffalo wagering pushed the line up to -2.5. This is still a nice place to bet either team. Ravens bettors may click their heels if the line hits -3. Even the move from -1.5 to -2.5 might make it worth their while to buy the extra point, taking a +3 line.

Lamar Jackson is one key to the game.

The Ravens quarterback rushed for 136 yards in the team’s opening-round triumph over the Tennessee Titans. He also helped rally the team from a 10-0 early deficit.

In avenging the playoff loss to the Titans from last year, the Ravens continued to look formidable.

Buffalo’s defense gave up 472 yards in a narrow victory over the Indianapolis Colts, who crossed the 50-yard line on nine of their 10 possessions and averaged more than six yards per play.

Baltimore’s defense, on the other hand,  has stepped up dramatically and is the biggest wild card in this matchup. How about holding the Cincinnati Bengals to three points and then putting a handcuff on Derrick Henry and the Titans? Henry was coming off a 200-plus yard game and the Ravens kept him to 40.

In this game, Buffalo’s offensive line looks to protect Josh Allen enough for him to launch downfield throws to Stefon Diggs and to scramble. Buffalo does not rely on its running game the way Tennessee did.

All ‘Bs’: Brady + Brees = bets

You have to love the marquee. Tom Brady’s best work of the season has come in the last five games, in which the Tampa Bay offensive line has given him tremendous time to throw.  Brady has more receiving targets than Drew Brees does for the New Orleans Saints.

It’s been the same pregame script every time these teams met this year.  Brady was supposed to lead the Bucs over the Saints, and New Orleans beat him in the opener. Brady was rolling before the rematch and the Bucs, at -5, were never in it.

And here we go again.

Can the Saints beat the Bucs three times in one year? They will need a big game from Alvin Kamara and Brees will have to throw deep once in a while to keep  the defense honest.

Will Super Bowl champs stop the Cleveland Browns party?

It’s been great for Cleveland Browns fans, who watched their team topple the Pittsburgh Steelers twice in eight days. But now they visit the defending Super Bowl champions, who lost only one game this year.

The Browns optimist believes the team’s momentum from the Pittsburgh triumph snowballs into another upset. Cleveland backers bank on the usual stellar effort from Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The subplot will be whether Kansas City should have kept Hunt, who broke in with them.

The Chiefs backer believes they won’t commit the mistakes that brought Cleveland that early 28-0 lead against the Steelers and that the Chiefs won’t be rusty despite the offense resting in the last regular season game.

A shootout is expected and the Chiefs, on paper, have a little more ammunition in their gun.

AP Photo/Michael Perez

Looking At Alabama Versus Ohio State National Championship Game Odds

Highly favored Alabama and underdog Ohio State are both undefeated heading into tonight’s CFP National Championship game.

The Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes are the last two teams standing for tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship.

One team was a season-long front-runner while the other overcame COVID-19 issues.

And here they are, highly favored Alabama and underdog Ohio State, both undefeated and clashing for the national championship title. Both have significant wagering cache with the NJ sports betting crowd.

Here is a closer at the matchup and NCAA National Championship Game odds.

Breaking down Alabama vs. Ohio State

Alabama is 12-0 and favored in the nine-point range across NJ sportsbook apps. Besides being at the top of the rankings most of the year, they are the BCS No. 1 seed. The Crimson Tide defeated Notre Dame 31-14 in the semifinals.

Ohio State, 7-0, almost didn’t qualify for the BCS because it had only played five games entering the final regular-season weekend. It notched No. 6, entered the four-team championship and then scored a significant upset over Clemson, 49-28, as a seven-point dog.

The Crimson Tide attracted the early love of the bettors even at high odds. Here are some key numbers:

  • Alabama garnered 68% of the DraftKings Sportsbook handle entering the weekend.
  • Alabama also secured a majority on the moneyline at 56%, despite its seemingly prohibitive line of -315.
  • Ohio State is an attractive +240 if it can deliver the upset.
  • The over-under of 75.5 has appealed to the under crowd, with 65% thinking the total will go under.

Alabama averages a little more than 48 points per game compared to 43 for Ohio State.

Alabama gives up 19 points per contest, Ohio State 22. The betting crowd seems to be of the belief that defenses will rise to the occasion in this game.

Ohio State has a decided rushing advantage of 272 yards per game compared to 185 for Alabama.

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NJ sportsbooks + National Championship game

From an NJ sports wagering perspective, bettors have a number of options, including a number of different props.

At DraftKings, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is expected to throw at least three touchdown passes. The over 3.5 was paying -103 and the under was -125 as of early this morning. 

Justin Fields of Ohio State has a -129 marker for over 2.5 touchdown passes, while the under was +120. He threw a whopping six in the game of his life in Ohio State’s thrashing of Clemson.

If you take the under in either case, you are hoping for a running back or even a quarterback sneak to steal one of the tallies.

Seeking value for the big names? They will have to be the first touchdown scorer.

On the FanDuel Sportsbook side, Fields’ over-under passing yardage is set at 290.5, with the price at -113. This is a playable bet, especially if you believe he can duplicate the 385-yard total from the Clemson game.

Jones has a standard of 365.5 yards. The over is -120, and the under is -106.

Note the difference between FanDuel and DraftKings if you like the yardage prop. Fields is 309.5 at DraftKings and 290.5 at FanDuel. Jones is 380.5 at DraftKings and 365.5 at FanDuel.

On the touchdown end, Jones has a standard of 3.5, with the over at -128 and the under at -102.

Fields has a playable number at 2.5 touchdowns, with the over at -120 and the under at -106.

Johnny Avello says betting is going well

Ohio State has been the Cinderella team in this matchup.

After making the postseason, the Buckeyes turned in a masterful performance against Clemson. They were unstoppable, amassing a whopping 639 yards. Pretty high numbers for a team getting more than a touchdown in the final.

All that did was spike wagering expectations for this showdown. Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told NJ Gambling Sites the betting for this game is really going well.

“This is probably going to the biggest handle for a single college football game of all time,” said Avello. “The reason is because the matchup is great. Any time Ohio State is involved in a game, that team seems to be a money magnet. People just love to bet Ohio State, especially with points. We expect to see plenty of Ohio State action.”

The betting sentiment bears him out. The Sugar Bowl, involving Ohio State and Clemson, was DraftKings’ most-wagered bowl game of the season. Alabama-Notre Dame was second.

Ohio State gets the opportunity to complete a season-long redemption mission.  The Buckeyes were beaten in the BCS semifinal 29-23 last year by Clemson after having a 16-0 lead. They avenged the Clemson loss and now seek the Holy Grail.

“They could not stop thinking about that earlier Clemson game since they lost it,” Avello said. “And then some experts came out and called them the 11th best team in the country, and you know they didn’t like that.”

Looking at Justin Fields and Ohio State

There’s another interesting element to this game from a wagering standpoint.

Fields had an outstanding game against Clemson

It was the game of his career. He tossed six — count ’em, six — touchdown passes. Two of them were bombs.

“Fields is a talented kid,” Avello observed.  “I like him a lot. He has a good presence on the field, and he has an awareness of his receivers, and yet there’s another way to look at this. He threw some passes in that game against Clemson in which a fingernail could have separated whether the pass was complete or incomplete. …

“The question is whether he is going to be able to duplicate that against this Alabama team.”

Bettors will soon find out.

As far as watching the game goes, we are hours away from kickoff.

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

NFL Playoff Odds Boosts: Looking at the Brady Versus Smith Showdown

NFL Wild Card Weekend means there will be six, not four, games, and NJ sports betting customers have a full menu of boosts, props and promos.

There are six NFL wild card playoff games this weekend. Many New Jersey sports bettors have already found their edge — or lack of one — regarding the teams and players.

It’s a smaller schedule than the regular season and will push more NJ online sportsbook customers in the direction of boosts, props and promos.

Let’s observe the prolific betting landscape.

Fox Bet boosting Nick Chubb

Can Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns rush for more than 100 yards and score a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers? Fox Bet has boosted it to an eye-opening +400, up from +333. Chubb is certainly capable, and the Browns are a good rushing team.

Chubb accomplished this feat five times during the regular season. The latest was last week, against the Steelers. Pittsburgh, however, rested some key players.

For this realistic possibility to pay that well, the book is saying the public expects the Steelers to dominate and force Cleveland to throw more.

This bet is as much about where one thinks Cleveland will be in the game as whether Chubb can hit the number.

If the bet hits, it pays very well.

How well?

For Derrick Henry to achieve the same totals in the Tennessee Titans-Baltimore Ravens game, the odds are +100 — a staggering difference for the same achievement.

The intangible thrown into the Chubb bet is the absence of Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, who won’t be behind the bench. He’s out after testing positive for COVID-19.

Will this have an effect on the team’s organization?

The bet offers indirect insight on the game. For Chubb’s prop number to be that large, insiders don’t expect him to be a major factor. It would correlate with Pittsburgh dominating the game.

But will the bettors agree?

Tom Brady vs. Alex Smith

Here’s one from the Washington Football TeamTampa Bay Buccaneers Saturday evening game.

Can Tom Brady of Tampa Bay and Alex Smith of Washington each toss two or more touchdowns? It’s +300 for a reason.

Brady has been on a roll, picking apart defenses with 12 touchdowns against only one interception over recent games. But those performances have come against the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions.

Washington hasn’t allowed two passing touchdowns in a game since Week 13 and will be the best defense Brady has seen in several weeks.

Smith did throw two touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles in the team’s last game. Plus, Tampa does have a porous defense, so he will have a chance here. But he looks hobbled and can’t extend plays well.

Nonetheless, two touchdowns apiece is not a ridiculous thing to ask.

Colts-Bills kick off Wild Card Weekend

Here’s a prop to make bettors think about where the Indianapolis Colts-Buffalo Bills game will be during the fourth quarter.

Can each team come up with at least two touchdowns and two field goals?

The yes has been boosted from +225 to +250.

It’s a respectable return, because teams are not locked into scoring in each quarter. The key is believing the game will be close enough for a field goal to matter in the fourth quarter. Both teams are not shy about bypassing field goals and going for touchdowns, even in the red zone.

But with everything on the line, they could be tempted to play more conservatively and grab sure points when possible.

The proliferation of two-point attempts has also changed the number of field goals attempted. In taking this bet, you are hoping for a more conventional style of play.

More NFL betting possibilities

Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints to score twice against the Chicago Bears has been added. It’s gone up to +300.

There are some props for Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams, but be wary. His status is uncertain versus the Seattle Seahawks.

Here’s an apples-to-apples comparison to benefit line shoppers

FanDuel Sportsbook has boosted the moneyline payout for Buffalo, Seattle and Tampa Bay to win their games from +160 to +190. This is meaningful because most other books have this one in the +160 range.

Thirty basis points is a substantial edge for the bettor.

Moneyline parlays are a good idea in the first place, especially with clear-cut favorites involved. In most instances, bettors will hit the majority of the wagers and always feel as though there’s a good chance this will hit.

The question is whether they can get that last one, and there usually is one difficult or sweat part of the wager, to make the bet pay.

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DraftKings Sportsbook luring newcomers

If you haven’t joined the parade yet, now is an excellent time.

For Wild Card Weekend, DraftKings Sportsbook is offering an easy score for first-time users.

Amid the NFL’s highest-scoring season ever, all you need is a touchdown. It’s what DraftKings likes to refer to as a no-brainer bet. The rules are simple:

  • Sign up for an account using the above link.
  • Deposit at least $5 into your DraftKings Sportsbook account.
  • Bettors will be issued one single-use odds boost (+100) to use for any team to score a touchdown during Wild Card Weekend.
  • The wager must be placed prior to the kickoff of Saturday’s Bills-Colts game.
  • You must select the boost from your betslip before placing the bet.
  • The maximum bet is $50.

There is a similar promo for existing customers, but the maximum wager is $25.

PointsBet says you drink the ‘juice’

PointsBet has an exciting slate of promotions to kick off NFL Wild Card Weekend, including the return of No Juice +100 spread lines. The max bet is $10,000.

This eliminates the vig, or the price of playing the bet, usually 10% of the wager.

The promo has particular significance on large bets. A $10,000 wager will usually result in a vig of about $1,000.

The principle applies for smaller bets, too. A $300 wager, for example, would provide a savings of roughly $30 if the vig vanishes.

William Hill + NFL Saturday playoff bonus

Here’s an if-you-win angle from William Hill. It involves all three Saturday games.

All it takes is wagering at least $50 on a pregame bet, and if you win, bonuses will kick in. Basically, you’ll receive free bet dollars for your team’s top running back’s stats. Here are a few examples:

  • $1 toward a free bet per 10 rushing yards.
  • $6 toward a free bet per rushing touchdown.
  • $6 toward a free bet per receiving touchdown.

Credits will be applied directly to accounts within five business days after the promotion period has expired. The free bet must be used within seven days after it is awarded.

AP Photo/Derik Hamilton