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

NFL Week 17 Odds: Eagles Have Chance To Spoil Washington’s Postseason Hopes

The eliminated Philadelphia Eagles are hosting Washington in a Week 17 Sunday Night Football showdown that will impact who wins the NFC East.

From first place in midseason to first out now, NFL Week  17 will wrap up the sad irony for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Instead of seeking the NFC East title in Week 17 against the Washington Football Team, the eliminated Eagles will crown another team as the champion, in the Sunday Night Football national spotlight, no less. That’s like contending for an Academy Award only to be asked on stage to name the winner.

We open the Odds Five with an NJ sports betting Who Needs It Week 17 list, capped by the NFC East.

NFL Week 17 must-win scenarios

Here are the teams that must show up this week:

  • Chicago Bears (vs Green Bay Packers)
  • Green Bay Packers (at Chicago)
  • Tennessee Titans (at Houston Texans)
  • Miami Dolphins (at Buffalo Bills)
  • Baltimore Ravens (at Cincinnati Bengals
  • Cleveland Browns (vs Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • Arizona Cardinals (at Los Angeles Rams)
  • Los Angeles Rams (vs Cardinals)
  • Indianapolis Colts (vs Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Everyone but the Eagles in the NFC East

They all still have something to play for this week.

The NFC East champion will be the first team in NFL history (of 342 candidates) to start a season 2-7 or worse and make the playoffs, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.

If the host Eagles defeat Washington, the winner between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys in the afternoon enters the postseason with a home game for the first round. If Washington triumphs, the Football Team earns the NFC East.

Washington has looked abysmal offensively in two consecutive outings, losing to the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers at home. The Football Team was beaten by the four-win Panthers in Week 16 when all it had to do was win to clinch the division. Washington was never in the game, falling behind 20-0 and playing with an offensive lack of awareness. Washington’s body language and team chemistry are bad.

Alex Smith, if healthy, will start at quarterback for Washington against the Eagles. He missed the Panthers game.

Betting angles: Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants must play hard. With the Eagles, one can’t tell.

The early DraftKings Sportsbook line spoke volumes. The last-place, eliminated Eagles opened as a one-point pick against first-place Washington, which has everything to play for.

Cowboys look hungrier than anyone in NFC East

Remember the Arizona Cardinals humbling them on Monday Night Football?

Remember this team at 3-9?

The Cowboys have won three straight and suddenly look like they remember the talented receiving corps of CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, who singed the Eagles on deep patterns in Week 16’s 37-17 victory. Dallas outscored the Eagles 34-3 after falling behind early.

Ironically, Dallas was the preseason favorite to secure this division and could still get it.

The Giants fought hard in a 27-13 setback to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16, losing the game they were supposed to lose. Yet despite dropping three straight games by a combined total of 73-26, the Giants have a road to the playoffs with a win over Dallas and an Eagles triumph.

It would seem fitting in this division that both Week 17 games end in a tie.

Miami Dolphins gain late Christmas gift

If the Miami Dolphins reach the playoffs, they will credit the most bizarre stroke of luck in last Saturday’s 26-25 triumph over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Miami fell behind 25-23 on a Daniel Carlson field goal Saturday night with just 19 seconds remaining. Should be game over.

But on the ensuing possession, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a long pass AND the Raiders were called for a bonehead face mask penalty.

That made the difference as Jason Sanders drilled the game-winning field goal with one second remaining.  The Dolphins are guaranteed a playoff berth if they can defeat the host Buffalo Bills in the season finale.

Miami will be playing for something in Week 17 at Buffalo.

Lessons from the Dolphins-Raiders game: The Raiders remain an undisciplined team, although they covered the +2.5 here.

Dolphins bettors got a bad break when the go-ahead TD Las Vegas scored with 3:37 left was followed by a missed extra point. That took any possibility of overtime, and a chance to win by a field goal, out of play.

Bettors of the under got burned by 22 points being scored in the last four minutes.

Dolphins coaches hopefully learned a lesson by bringing Fitzpatrick into the game. He engineered 13 fourth-quarter points in relief of Tua Tagovailoa, who is too green for this kind of pressure.

A quarterback has to look pretty lost to make the Raiders look like a good defensive team. Fitzpatrick ought to be starting the rest of the way.

Ravens enter Week 17 in playoff position

The Baltimore Ravens, denied leapfrogging into a playoff spot when Miami stole the game from the Raiders, did manage the feat Sunday with the Pittsburgh Steelers rallying from 24-7 down to beat the Indianapolis Colts, 28-24. And the Cleveland Browns losing to the New York Jets also helped the cause.

Baltimore took care of business against the New York Giants and will likely get to 11-5 after its Week 17 matchup against the host Cincinnati Bengals. Win and you’re in. The Ravens have won four straight and have hit their best stride of the second half.

The Arizona Cardinals, fresh off good-looking victories over the Giants and the Eagles, fell flat as a pancake in losing to the San Francisco 49ers. Now they must defeat the Los Angeles Rams on the road to guarantee a playoff spot.

Betting note: Rams quarterback Jared Goff suffered a broken thumb and will likely miss the game.

And who woke up Da Bears?

Arizona’s loss opened the door for Chicago, which stormed through with its third straight triumph, ripping the Jacksonville Jaguars 41-17. “Da Bears,” who looked rudderless a month ago, have scored more than 30 points in four consecutive games (hope you had the over).

When is the last time they did that? Not since the Gale Sayers era, in 1965. Chicago can guarantee a playoff berth by beating Green Bay or the Rams beating Arizona.

Browns still fighting for a playoff spot

The Browns look to rebound from their self-inflicted wounds, finishing against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who finally managed to clinch the division with Sunday’s come-from-behind 28-24 triumph over the Indianapolis Colts.

The Browns lost their top receivers because of positive COVID-19 tests. That’s why they flopped and got beaten by the suddenly live New York Jets, who won their second game in a row.

Now the Browns must defeat the Steelers at home to guarantee a playoff spot. And while Pittsburgh may not need the game, this is a bitter rivalry, and the Steelers could play harder than expected. The Browns are heavily favored.

NFL Week 17 around the league

The Kansas City Chiefs have wrapped up the AFC home field throughout the playoffs. They don’t need to win this week.

The Packers need a win or Seattle Seahawks loss to wrap up the No. 1 NFC position.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

 

 

 

Football Five Week 16: Jets And Bengals Capture That Winning Feeling

One of the hot NFL betting topics heading into Week 16 is how the Jets and Bengals pulled off two of the biggest upsets of the 2020 season.

Let’s begin the NFL Week 16 Football Five with a salute to the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals, two basement teams who restored faith in the NFL’s competitive balance.

They turned the tables on the week’s two largest imminent blowouts, turning them into the year’s largest upsets.

Bravo to them and the sliver of Week 15 bettors. And that group was an extremely small one at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Only 11% of the money was on the Jets to win straight up against the Los Angeles Rams.

And only 9% of the money was on the Bengals to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Both teams were in the vicinity of +1000 across the establishments favored by NJ sports betting customers.

Newfound respect for Jets and Bengals

Will the Jets come out with a chip on their shoulder after an only-in-New-York media reaction to their victory?

They were knocked for now not being the league’s worst team and thus not likely to draft quarterback Trevor Lawrence from Clemson as the top pick in the next NFL draft.

Imagine being Sam Darnold, the Jets’ current quarterback, and hearing that.

The Jets, now with one victory, will be looked at differently when they host the Cleveland Browns this week. And the Bengals have their third win, the first without Joe Burrow, before playing the Houston Texans.

The Jets, a whopping +17 against the Los Angeles Rams, have been awarded a full touchdown more on the opening line against the Browns at DraftKings Sportsbook.

FanDuel’s early line of Cincinnati +8.5 shows some respect for a team that bounced back to life Monday night as a 14.5-point dog.

The Jets and Bengals also stirred the playoff-ramifications pot throughout the league.

Say hello to the new No. 2 seed in the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills. They have additional incentive to defeat the New England Patriots in the next Monday Night Football game.  The sizzling hot 11-3 Bills look more likely to host a first-round playoff game when the postseason begins during the second weekend in January.

The Rams, who have played volleyball with the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West lead, now trail by one game before this weekend’s critical matchup on the road.

And the Steelers? Look at these offensive numbers in the last four games: 19, 17, 15 and 17.

Since leading the Washington Football Team 14-0 in the second quarter of their Dec. 7 game, they are being outscored 76-35. Shocking numbers for an 11-3 team.

That’s how life changes in the NFL.

Giants’ playoff chances are fizzling

Two dull home losses, 26-7 to the Arizona Cardinals and 20-6 to the Cleveland Browns, snapped a four-game winning streak and laid the New York Giants bare in front of the bettors. They are a slow, deliberate, grind-it-out offense just before the worst matchup possible.

New York plays the high-flying, explosive Baltimore Ravens, who have topped 40 points two weeks in a row.

Falling behind early would be a disaster against the Ravens.

But Big Blue’s defense is stout, evidenced by goal-line stands against the Cardinals and Browns. This included limiting Cleveland to 20 points after the Browns had scored 42 against the Ravens.

The Giants have lost control of their own destiny, however. Much of it now rests in the hands of the four-win Carolina Panthers, who must defeat the Washington Football Team in order for Big Blue to retain realistic playoff games.

Basically, the season is coming down to the IF game. So if:

  • Carolina upsets Washington;
  • The Giants defeat the Ravens as a big dog; and
  • The Philadelphia Eagles defeat the Dallas Cowboys,

then, and only then, the Giants would be in first place heading into the last week of the season.

But there are other ifs that would end the Giants’ postseason hopes.

A Washington win combined with a Giants loss will earn the Football Team the NFC Was crown.

In a similar vein, the Eagles, who trail the Giants, need Carolina to defeat Washington or it’s over for them. It’s the same for second-place Dallas. This is a significant betting consideration.

The Eagles-Cowboys will have huge NFC implications, or none, based on the Washington game, which is played earlier.

 Vikings, Saints under the Christmas tree

Whether it’s COVID-19 necessitated or a future consideration, the NFL has a Friday game, the New Orleans Saints hosting the Minnesota Vikings.

And it happens to fall on Christmas Day.

There is a unique undercurrent to this game. The Vikings are going nowhere, and in fact propelled the Chicago Bears into the fringes of the NFC playoff picture with Sunday’s loss, but they knocked the Saints out of the playoffs last year — in New Orleans, where this game will be played.

And there was that Minneapolis Miracle a couple of years earlier when the Vikings eliminated the Saints from the playoffs with a long TD on the final play.

Are the Saints jinxed against the Vikings, or is this the game in which they remove the hex?

Minnesota has an excellent offense with Kirk Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook, whereas New Orleans has a revenge motive from last year.

The Saints are resting injured star Michael Thomas until the playoffs, and their offense improved after a sputtering start with the return of Drew Brees against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Week 16 Saturday games matter

The sportsbooks love isolated opportunities like Friday’s one-gamer and the Saturday trio of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Detroit Lions, the Miami Dolphins visiting the Las Vegas Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals sharing a home game with the San Francisco 49ers. Betting action pours in on these games and, fortunately for the NFL, Tampa Bay, Miami and Arizona need the games.

The league never knows how much these games will matter when it draws up the schedule well before the season.

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Another way to interpret the lines

The Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers have the week’s highest over-under projection of 56 at DraftKings. The Tampa Bay-Detroit contest, 53.5, and the Atlanta Falcons-Kansas City Chiefs matchup, 54, are close behind.

Point totals convey a secondary angle, prop mania.

Watch the yardage and touchdown-tossing props in all of these games as they approach, and if you want to take a stab, consider some of the following payouts reported from Week 15 by DraftKings:

Austin Hooper of the Cleveland Browns returned +1600 as the first touchdown scorer in the Giants-Browns game.

Derrick Henry of the Titans paid +350, hitting paydirt against the Detroit Lions.

Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs returned +510, scoring against the Saints.

But how about Russell Gage of the Atlanta Falcons? He returned a hefty +3500 as the first to hit paydirt in the game against Tampa Bay.

Like most props, these contain the intellectual component of selecting likely recipients and the good fortune of hitting the right individual. Hooper is a tight end. Bettors had to survive two goal-to-goal runs before he was found on a TD toss. Hill and Henry are usually good anytime scorers, but for them to be first scorer in the entire game limits the player to a couple of possessions.

These bets are proving to be more popular because they can provide a lot of bang for a little buck.

Photo by Associated Press

 

NFL Week 16 Odds: Jets Finally Win First Game Of 2020 Season

The New York Jets odds of winning another game are iffy heading into Week 16, but they shocked the NJ sports betting world with a victory over the Rams.

NFL Week 16 arrives with the NJ sports betting world still in a state of shock.

The New York Jets, shaking up the NFL by stunning the Los Angeles Rams as a whopping 17-point road underdog, headline our Week 16 Odds Five.

New York Jets win, but are still 1-13

The Jets, who obtained their first victory, retained the NFL’s penchant for surprising fans and rewarding a few savvy New Jersey online sportsbook gamblers.

Their 23-20 triumph over the sleep-walking Los Angeles Rams, who entered with nine wins, became the largest upset of the year.

The Jets burned an avalanche of moneyline parlay tickets but also rewarded a few sharp bettors. A tip of the hat to the 5% of SugarHouse sportsbook patrons who went against the grain, taking the Jets odds  on the moneyline at +1000.

As they return to MetLife Stadium to oppose the 10-4 Cleveland Browns in Week 16, the Jets sport a satisfying achievement.  This was the same team that took a 40-3 shellacking from the Seattle Seahawks one week earlier.

But it was also the same Jets team that scored on its opening drive for the eighth straight game. Plus, they actually held a lead for the sixth consecutive game, indicating they should have won three or four previous games.

No home field advantage at MetLife Stadium

The Browns, methodically proficient in Sunday’s 20-6 triumph over the suddenly-lifeless New York Giants, look for the MetLife Parlay in Week 16.

Facing the Jets, they try to match the San Francisco 49ers, who swept the Giants and Jets handily on this field in Weeks 2 and 3.

Here is some irony. Who has the most wins at MetLife Stadium, the combined home of the Jets and Giants, this season?

The answer would be the Giants and Niners, with two apiece. And the Browns can tie them this week.

The Giants, meanwhile, were too tricky for their own good in the first half against the Browns Sunday night. Three red zone trips, three points after a fake field goal and a 4th-and-short run into the line from the six-yard line produced no results.

There’s a reason teams don’t make the playoffs.

Two ugly home losses to the combined tune of 46-13 have kept the Giants out of first place.

Will Eagles-Cowboys game matter?

In the NFC East, the now last-place Philadelphia Eagles and second-place Dallas Cowboys sport a unique, two-tiered perspective to their heated rivalry Sunday.

In the early-afternoon game, both teams commonly root for the Carolina Panthers to defeat the host Washington Football Team.  If that doesn’t happen, both teams will be eliminated from the postseason before they even take the field for the late-afternoon contest.

If Carolina scores the mild upset, Dallas and Philadelphia then fight for the right to eliminate one another. Now that would be the Eagles and Cowboys.

If the game means something, betting will pick up briskly just before kickoff. And if a Carolina win is matched by the Baltimore Ravens’ expected victory over the New York Giants, Philly or Dallas could take a significant leap.

A Washington victory, however, coupled with a Baltimore victory, gives the Football Team the division outright on Sunday.

Many chances here.

Washington is a slight favorite to defeat the four-win Panthers at home, but Carolina sports a mobile quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, who could give Washington problems.

Washington sits in the rarified air of 6-8, good for the top spot.

Jalen Hurts still Eagles starting QB

The Eagles did not win against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but they have found a quarterback. Jalen Hurts provided leadership via three touchdown passes thrown and one rushing touchdown in Philadelphia’s gut-wrenching 33-26 loss.

It was the best game the Eagles have played in several weeks, but they failed to capitalize on the earlier loss by the Washington Football Team to the Seattle Seahawks.

Hurts provided mobility and leadership. He had three touchdown passes in the first half. His predecessor Carson Wentz did not have a three -TD game this year. The biggest difference between quarterbacks is Hurts’ ability to extend plays either by scampering for a first down or moving out of the pocket to find receivers.

 Bills have championship potential

Josh Allen had a terrific game for the Buffalo Bills against the Denver Broncos, accounting for four touchdowns, two rushing and two passing. Cole Beasley found all kinds of room to operate as a receiver, looking as formidable as Julian Edelman did when complementing Tom Brady during the Patriots’ championship runs.

The Buffalo defense also scored a touchdown in the 48-19 road romp.

In winning their first AFC East title since 1995, the Bills are knocking on the door of the number two seed. They only trail the Pittsburgh Steelers by one game and would capture the tiebreaker if it came into play.

Buffalo plays the now-eliminated New England Patriots on Monday Night.

No Brady, and no Patriots playoff run

It was an anti-climactic bowout for the New England Patriots, who had made 11 straight playoff appearances before their hopes ended with Sunday’s 22-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

New England simply doesn’t have the weapons, quarterback Cam Newton can’t throw a deep ball, and the team is not built to come from behind.

In the meantime, former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finally looks comfortable in Tampa Bay. The Bucs obtained a character-building victory in Atlanta. They  rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit to defeat the host Falcons, 31-27.

Brady stepped nicely into throws, receivers ran good patterns and the team displayed a rhythm it had not shown in several weeks. Granted, this was the Falcons, not a playoff team, but Tampa Bay needed it.

The 9-5 Bucs are right in the playoff chase before visiting the Detroit Lions on Saturday.

NFL Week 16 around the league

There is a Christmas game in Week 16, featuring the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. It marks the first time in NFL history that the league has played a game in every day of the week.

It includes three Saturday games:

  • Tampa Bay at Detroit, 1 p.m.
  • San Francisco at Arizona, 4:30 p.m.
  • Dolphins at Raiders, 8:15 p.m.

Tampa Bay, Arizona and Miami all need their games, making the competition interesting.

Sunday’s key games include the Rams and Seahawks for the NFC West lead and the Tennessee Titans versus the Green Bay Packers.

photo by ASSOCIATED PRESS 

 

 

 

NFL Week 15 Odds: Eagles Score Victory Over Saints To Remain In NFC East Hunt

The Philadelphia Eagles odds of winning the NFC East remains a NJ sports betting play following Sunday’s 24-21 upset. A Week 15 trip to Arizona is up next.

Hard to believe NFL Week 15 is here. And here’s something else that’s hard to believe:

Philadelphia Eagles 24, New Orleans Saints 21

OK, who saw that coming?

As jubilation reigns for their fans, relevance returns at least this week for Eagles backers at New Jersey online sportsbooks. The NJ sports betting crowd doesn’t care about the team’s 4-8-1 record, only the fact that Philadelphia defeated the 10-win Saints, the NFC’s top team at kickoff.

That warrants a cameo-role resurrection of the NFC East picture, which Eagles bettors had already buried.

The Birds lead off the Odds Five.

Eagles Week 15: Optimism vs. realism

So how should bettors view the Philadelphia Eagles odds of winning the NFC East at this point?

Well, as the Birds prepare for a Week 15 road matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, here’s a look at optimism vs. reality.

Optimism:  This week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals has far more significance than it did last week. Season-ending battles at the Dallas Cowboys and at home against the Washington Football Team could become meaningful.

Realism: The battle remains an uphill one, as the Eagles trail division-leading Washington by 1.5 games. The Eagles must cut one game off of that margin over the next two weeks for the finale to matter.

Washington hosts the 9-4 Seattle Seahawks in Week 15 and the 4-9 Carolina Panthers in Week 16. If Washington captures just one of its next two games, a likely possibility, the Eagles must win out against Arizona, Dallas, and Washington to steal the division.

Optimism: this week may represent Philadelphia’s best chance to cut into the margin. The Eagles can’t figure to get help from Carolina, but Seattle plays well in the Eastern time zone and is a medium-sized favorite to win over Washington.

Realism: An Eagles loss and a Washington win Sunday against Seattle would knock Philadelphia out of the race. Arizona has seven wins while the Eagles are underdogs by nearly a touchdown. Running the table, when two of the three teams on the schedule have more wins than you do, is asking a lot.

In this crystal ball, the Giants need to drop a game too, but that’s likely, even probable, as they host the Cleveland Browns and visit the Baltimore Ravens.

What do NJ online sportsbooks say? Here is the updated topsy-turvy ride in the NFC East, reflected on its odds board to win the division.

Will the Jalen Hurts chapter continues?

These are the best odds an Eagles backer will get the rest of the way. Dallas would need hell to freeze over, twice. Any loss or a Washington victory begins its offseason.

Philadelphia will feel good about its chances behind rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts. He lifted the intensity level of the entire team as the Eagles gouged a rushing record the Saints had been proud of. New Orleans  had not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 55 straight games. That’s three- and one-half seasons.

But the Birds burned them not with just one, but two 100-yard rushers in Miles Sanders and Hurts. Sanders drilled them for 82 yards on one play, a touchdown putting the Eagles up 17-0 late in the second quarter. Hurts gives the Eagles an important running component outside the pocket.

The Eagles had a certain look in this game. Can they carry it over?

And will Hurts get another start? Head coach Doug Pederson had yet to name his Week 15 starting QB as of Monday morning.

Washington riding hot streak

The Washington Football Team has fashioned a four-game win streak, including three straight on the road. Don’t laugh, it now holds the longest current win streak in the entire NFC.

They toppled the San Francisco 49ers 23-15 Sunday to obtain two road victories in one week. Coupled with last Monday’s 23-17 triumph over the previously-unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington has vaulted to 6-7. The team not only surpassed the DraftKings Sportsbook projected win total of 5.5 games, but triumphed in unlikely fashion against San Francisco.

Washington’s offense failed to score a touchdown against the Niners. But its defense reached the end zone  twice to carry the team on its shoulders. Washington’s offense had less than 200 yards, but the team won.

This is a special Washington defensive group, bailing out a weak offense.  Washington lost quarterback Alex Smith in the second half and its potential number one is, guess who, the old number one.

Dwayne Haskins began the year as Washington’s top QB, was demoted all the way to third string, and did not even come to a couple of games.

Now he may be asked to lead the team, although that will be determined by Smith’s health status.

How fitting is it that that all four NFC East teams have needed backup quarterbacks this year?

Giants and Jets flounder on Sunday

The Giants laid an egg following four consecutive victories that had vaulted them into first place. Sunday’s 26-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals was as ugly as it gets. The offense, in Daniel Jones’ return, was clueless.

It was hard to believe this was the same team that had just defeated the Seattle Seahawks. Jones returned from a hamstring injury and appeared to re-aggravate it. The Giants should bench him and try again with Colt McCoy when they oppose the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens in their  next two games.

They face two highly-powered offensive teams and must have at least a reasonable running attack to shorten the game. Big Blue went from trying to gain control of the division to now having its work cut out.

And the New York Jets, who continued their march to infamy with Sunday’s 40-3 debacle at Seattle, now must visit the Los Angeles Rams amid the perception that they have quit.

Here’s what happened Sunday to the now 0-13 Jets:

Three missed field goals when the game was still relevant. Three.

They also suffered from the bad things that happen to bad teams. When the Jets trailed 17-3, Seattle was guilty of an uncalled pass-interference penalty that would have given the Jets the ball at the Seattle 1. After that came a missed field goal.

In the second half, the Jets did quit.

Green Bay Packers head NFC stack

The Green Bay Packers assumed the top NFC top seed with Sunday’s triumph over the Detroit Lions, coupled with the Eagles’ upset of the Saints.

Green Bay plays its next two games at home, versus the Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans, before concluding at the Chicago Bears.

Green Bay, which holds the top spot by virtue of beating New Orleans early in the year, tries to gain a commanding position with a Week 15 victory and the possibility of New Orleans losing at home to Kansas City.

Only the No. 1 seed gets a bye in this year’s playoff race, making that spot precious.

Week 15  around the league

The Kansas City Chiefs visit New Orleans as the new top seed in the AFC, now that Pittsburgh has dropped two in a row. They lost 26-15 to the Buffalo Bills  on Sunday night. Kansas City has much at stake, as Pittsburgh holds the tie-breaker if the teams end the season deadlocked.

Bettors and NJ sportsbooks love the staggered schedule of Week 15 games, with Saturday coming into the mix.

The Las Vegas Raiders begin the Week 15 slate Thursday as an outside-looking-in playoff hopeful hosting the Los Angeles Chargers. Neither team has a good defense, both teams make a lot of mistakes. It should be an entertaining game.

A shootout is already baked into the over-under line of 54.5, DraftKings’ highest of the week.

On Saturday, Buffalo visits the Denver Broncos and the Packers face the Panthers.

And the Steelers visiting the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night closes out Week 15.

photo by ASSOCIATED PRESS 

 

Football Five: It’s Week 14 And 0-12 Jets Can’t Catch A Break

The 0-12 New York Jets came within seconds of winning their first win against the Raiders. The team closes out the season against four playoff contenders.

‘As NFL Week 14 dawns, Week 13 was a classic week for the dogs.

While NJ sportsbooks lit a figurative bonfire – prohibitive favorites the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers losing outright to burn reams of parlay tickets – bettors were reminded about the laws of averages.

Even great teams have limits, and no team is a horror show, except one.

Welcome to the intrigue of NJ sports betting.

Football Five examines the implications of “Why they play the games.”, or, in the case of the New York Jets, “Why you can’t be five seconds short”

 Week 14 means Jets short on time

Will the New York Jets finish the 2020 season 0-16?

Call it the last of the extreme season wagers available via the books. The other was the Steelers finishing the season 16-0, but hey were toppled by the Washington Football Team on Monday.

DraftKings Sportsbook has reduced the 0-12 Jets to a virtual even-money pick to go 0-16. It’s -110 either way, meaning it’s no longer unlikely for the Jets to reach perfect imperfection.

Only the 2017 Cleveland Browns and 2008 Detroit Lions have ever had the season’s table run on them.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 0-14 in 1976, stretching the futility to a modern-day mark of 26 before winning a game in 1977.

How do you handicap it? The Jets, unfortunately, have a strong chance of hitting the mark as three of their four remaining opponents have winning records.

Here is he remaining schedule:

  • Seahawks (8-4) away
  • Rams (8-4) away
  • Browns (9-3) home
  • Patriots (6-6) away

What’s amazing about this drought is that it isn’t happening to a horrible team.

DraftKings tabbed the Jets for 6.5 wins before the season started. This was the best second-half team in the entire AFC East last year, 6-2. But the Jets plummeted.

It takes a few cruel-and-unusual developments to create a winless season.

The Jets feature two. They had the Patriots practically beaten but their offense made two critical ball-control errors and they lost on the final play last month.

But the biggest dagger of all was Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders.

They came within five seconds of a victory.  So close that they fired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams over an all-out defensive blitz enabling the touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Henry Ruggs III on the Raiders’ final offensive play.

The Jets are showing up but finding ways to lose close home games. All season long, the sentiment has been they’d win a game sooner or later. Now the books call it 50-50.

Bettors have another perspective, of course. The Jets are 4-2 recently against the spread.

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Are Pittsburgh Steelers showing cracks in  foundation?

So why did it happen?

How did the Pittsburgh Steelers  lose to Washington when they had a 14-point lead? How did they squander a 14-0 first-half lead and lose their first game of the year, 23-17 to the Washington Football Team at Heinz Field?

The Steelers were 6-0 at home this season prior to Monday night’s game.

Besides Washington’s excellent defensive line, and the team coming together, here are the factors:

  • Focus: The Steelers, inexplicably, dropped a multitude of short passes for the second straight week. Their offense is geared around the short timing pass, setting up receivers to break a tackle and hit a long gain. The drops were not forced.
  • Lack of a running game: FanDuel Sportsbook bettors playing the in-game Ben Roethlisberger passing attempts prop of 44 like the fact he threw 53 Monday, but defenses will catch up to that in big games. Good teams will eventually chase Big Ben from the pocket, even if they don’t sack him, if they don’t worry about the run.
  • Big plays went the wrong way:When Pittsburgh led 7-0, it had first-and-goal from the Washington 1, and got stuffed.  Getting no points there hurt.
  • Lack of trust: The Steelers could have tried a long field goal with the game tied 17-17 late. But they went for it on 4th down rather than put rather than try a field goal with their new kicker.  The pass was dropped, and Washington promptly came down the field and kicked the go-ahead field goal.
  • Defense can’t do it all: The Steelers gave up a 3rd-and-16 for a first down, leading to a second-half Washington TD. Plus the Pittsburgh defense allowed a long drive to tie the game late.

The Buffalo Bills are up next on Sunday, Pittsburgh will look to retool. No longer chasing destiny, they will try to find offensive balance the rests of the season.  They may even rest Roethlisberger, who has been playing through an injured left knee.

Washington win impacts NFC East odds

The NFC East race looks like a stock market ticker. One unexpected result drives volatility through the odds board. DraftKings Sportsbook updated it Wednesday to read:

The cream has risen to the top. A month ago, the Eagles had prohibitive odds. Now +1400 looks generous.

Upcoming games: The Giants host the Arizona Cardinals as a slight dog.

Washington visits the San Francisco 49ers in their adopted home of Glendale, Az. Washington is a medium-size dog.

This was a big week for the NFC East, with Washington and the New York Giants defeating playoff teams on the road. And this will be an interesting division fight to the wire.

Pats vs. Chargers and the lopsided under

Here’s a head scratcher involving the league’s largest season blowout and a bizarre over-under.

Would the league’s largest margin of victory come from  the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs or Green Bay Packers?

Nope. How about a middle-of-the-road team in one of the year’s strangest games?

New England’s 45-0 blitz of the host Los Angeles Chargers was unusual for many reasons. The Patriots were +2 and still unleashed this 45-point whooping.

Forty-five points were supplied by one team. The over was 47, and it somehow lost.

That frustrated PointsBet gamblers, who had ridden the over total to the tune of 69%. And this bet would look pocketed given these developments:

  • New England helped the total with a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown.
  • The Pats helped further with a blocked field goal, resulting in a touchdown on the final play of the first half.
  • The Chargers have exceeded 30 points four times this season. All they needed was one score. One.

Instead, the Chargers become the first home team to suffer a shutout this season (two other road teams did) and, like the Jets, look to have serious coaching problems. The team featuring likely rookie-of-the-year quarterback Justin Herbert broke down in all phases.

That’s why they play the games.

Crazy post-script to this oddity: even after the blowout, the Chargers have scored more points than the Patriots this season.

Was this an aberration or can New England continue its magic? The Patriots return to the same stadium Thursday night, opening Week 14 against the Los Angeles Rams.

What Eagles are facing in Week 14

A tip of the hat to New Orleans coach Sean Payton, who has worked wonders even with Drew Brees hurt. Brees is tentatively slated to return against the Eagles Sunday and the Saints have the league’s longest winning streak, nine games.

Even without Brees, the Saints are 8-0. And in the three games he has missed this year, New Orleans is 3-0 with three covers. The offense has been good enough and the defense has been stellar.

photo by ASSOCIATED PRESS