NFL Playoff Odds: Stacking Up Final Eight Teams In Divisional Round

Round two of the NFL Playoffs will include underdogs like the Cleveland Browns and LA Rams still playing for a Super Bowl opportunity.

Bring on the NFL Playoffs round two.

While the Philadelphia Eagles’ season is over and fans debate Monday’s firing of head coach Doug Pederson, New Jersey online sports bettors await a stellar second NFL Playoff weekend.

Can the ‘dogs bark again?

NFL Wild Card Weekend  featured a strong performance for the underdogs.  They went 3-2-1 and captured two games outright.

Who shouts loudest this week, when the NFL’s final eight teams go to the divisional round?

Here are the matchups:

Let’s look at each conference and our weekly Odds 5.

Rams preparing for Green Bay + Rodgers

The Los Angeles Rams, who produced a 30-20 road upset over the Seattle Seahawks, invade the top-seeded Green Bay Packers as a decided dog. But when the spread opened at Green Bay -7, Rams betting made the first line move go down to Green Bay -6.5 on Tuesday morning.

The Rams showed the effect of a smothering defense against the Seahawks.

They scored off a sloppy pass by quarterback Russell Wilson and never looked back after the Pick 6 put them ahead 13-3.

Wilson looked overmatched by the big Rams offensive linemen and could not extend drives by scrambling.

Can the Rams put the same pressure on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers?  That’s a major question, but at least the Rams can ask it.

The Packers finished the regular season 13-3 and secured the NFC bye.

Green Bay features Rodgers, the runaway MVP quarterback, star receiver Davante Adams, and a stellar offensive line. The line may indeed be the big story, enabling Rodgers to float throughout the pocket and find receivers who break off their routes and get open.

Rodgers notched a nearly-unheard of 48 touchdowns versus only five interceptions this season. It is one of the finest, and most efficient campaigns a quarterback has ever put together.

It is the highest number of touchdowns passes Rodgers has ever thrown. He also surpassed 4,000 yards for the third straight year. His yardage and touchdown-pass totals will be prime betting targets.

The Rams cannot outgun the Packers. This comes down to whether they can win the battle of ball control.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff did well enough to manage the game in relief last week while Cam Akers supplied a spark in the backfield.

Rams coach Sean McVay improved to 37-0 when his team leads at halftime.

Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees, round 3

The New Orleans Saints  dominated the two earlier matchups against the Tampa Bay Bucs and offseason acquisition Tom Brady. However, this is the one that counts and the NFL betting line was on early gridlock.

It was stuck on New Orleans -3.

If it goes to -2.5, the Saints backers will be all over it. Should it drift to -3.5, here comes Tampa Bay money. Bettors can also buy the line they want, but it’s cheaper if the line goes there in the first place.

The talk is always about how hard it is to beat a team three times in one year. We’ll find out.

Brady was lured from New England to Tampa Bay in order to transform a team that had talent. The Bucs have won their last five.

The Bucs invade the Saints, who waged a close-to-the-vest type of game against the Chicago Bears. It was what the Saints defense prevented, rather than what its offense accomplished, in the 21-9 triumph. But the Saints had receiver Michael Thomas back, and he scored. Quarterback Drew Brees did just enough and running back Alvin Kamara had a good second half.

Brees, Kamara, and Thomas will attract prop betting attention, along with Brady, Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, and Antonio Brown. The Brady-Brown connection is percolating.

NFC extra points: Pederson is out

The Eagles make the hot-stove circuit. There are no NFC playoff matchups involving them, but the Pederson news dominated Monday headlines.
It had looked as though Pederson would be given one more year after Philadelphia’s 4-11-1 season, but his meetings with team owner Jeffrey Lurie appeared to convey no long-term vision.

There was also a clash of ideas regarding Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. The Eagles have a long-term commitment with Wentz.

Ravens are one hot NFL Playoff team

Look out for the Baltimore Ravens, now winners of six straight. Their crushing ground game was expected in Sunday’s 20-13 triumph over the host Tennessee Titans.

What wasn’t forecast was the tremendous job of limiting “The Beast,” Derrick Henry, to 40 yards. Henry led the league in rushing, eclipsing 2,000 yards, but the Ravens stuffed the line of scrimmage and dared the Titans to beat them through the air.

We have mentioned Baltimore as the team nobody wants to play. They will now visit the Buffalo Bills in a great betting game from both sides. Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson as an anytime and first scorer remain popular wagering opportunities.

Baltimore’s defense has suddenly come alive and, combined with a stellar ground game, make the Ravens formidable.

The second-seeded Bills advanced to this conference semifinal, which they’ll host. This was their first playoff win since December 1995.

Buffalo showed playoff jitters in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts before building a 14-point second-half lead and barely hanging on, 27-24. Quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs are Buffalo’s major weapons

Can Browns rock again as double-digit underdog?

The Cleveland Browns visit the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs as a large, double-digit dog. The Browns obtained their first playoff victory in 26 years Sunday night, jumping to leads of 28-0 and 35-7 before coasting home, 48-37. The 28 first-quarter points is the most in an NFL playoff game, post 1970 merger.

Cleveland got its first win in Heinz Field since 2003 and secured its first-ever playoff victory over Pittsburgh. The Steelers, once 11-0, fizzled out and lost five of their last six games, including the Wild Card game.

Cleveland is rocking behind the punishing running game of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the league’s best backfield tandem.

Both players scored (Hunt twice) against Pittsburgh, rendering most of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s 500-plus passing yards against Cleveland’s defense an afterthought. The Browns intercepted Roethlisberger four times.

The Chiefs have not resembled their Super Bowl-winning form in a long time. In Week 16, they barely slipped past the Atlanta Falcons. In Week 17, the starters rested. Last week, this team was off.

Can the Chiefs suddenly turn it back on?

Patrick Mahomes has an arsenal of weapons and he usually targets Tyreek Hill early in the game for those thinking first touchdown scorer.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren



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

Football Five: NFL Playoff Odds Heading Into Wild Card Weekend

With six wild card games taking place this weekend, there are plenty of questions to consider as the NFL playoff season gets underway.

Welcome to the NFL playoffs Week 1.

Football Five, make it six, goes one step further this week. There are six playoff games and six key questions that will be answered, deciding who advances.

For the NJ sports betting crowd, action has been brisk enough to move a couple of the lines.

Here’s  a look at the playoff picture.

Can the Buffalo Bills handle the NFL playoff stage?

The Bills haven’t hosted a playoff game in 25 years. However, they were immediately installed as a one-touchdown favorite against the Indianapolis Colts for Saturday’s opening wild card game.

But William Hill still had the line at -6.5 on Tuesday. That’s a difference maker for bettors.

The Buffalo optimism is justified.

Josh Allen has turned into that special quarterback this year, adding a nice passing touch to his well-established running credentials. Stefon Diggs gives him a great target as the league’s leading pass catcher, 127 of them. Isaiah McKenzie had a second-quarter hat trick in the team’s 56-26 season-ending triumph over the Miami Dolphins.

What further helps the implied coronation is local officials allowing roughly 7,000 people to attend the game.

The question is what happens if Buffalo finds itself in a tight game late? The Bills have been playing from ahead, way ahead, in recent games and have been able to remain loose.

Indy will try to keep this tight with a ball-controlled game, hoping Buffalo makes a key mistake.

How does Indianapolis counter?

Jonathan Taylor has become the power back this team has long needed. He brought stability to the Colts, helping minimize mistakes from quarterback Phillip Rivers. Taylor rushed for an insane 253 yards last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is the key to Indy’s chances.

The Colts also have Frank Reich, one of the top coaches in the game and a mastermind behind the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning season three years ago. Reich was a Bills quarterback in the 1990s.

Reich will try to steal a couple of possessions from Buffalo via long, sustained drives.

The line says Buffalo’s weapons are younger and a bit faster.

Did John Wolford become a veteran for the Rams?

It was John Wolford’s first game as a quarterback. He didn’t find the end zone and threw some interceptions. But Wolford settled down, and his rushing total of 56 yards helped the Rams do just enough to capture a must-win victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17.

Can he step it up one more notch against a better Seattle Seahawks team in Saturday’s middle game?

The teams split games on their own fields in the regular season. This is ground-and-pound, methodical football. The Rams will try to stay close enough to take this away from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson with a big defensive play.

The spread says bettors favor Wilson’s credentials over Wolford’s — unless Wolford’s running presents problems.

The teams scored 29 total points against each other two weeks ago. Seattle won the game, 20-9. The over-under for this one opened at 43.

Does Washington have any chance against Tampa Bay?

The line says no.

A home playoff team getting more than a touchdown is unusual. And the initial line of the Tampa Bay Bucs -7.5 did not attract Washington money. The line surged to -8.5 early in the week.

The Washington Football Team has epic problems scoring, and the Bucs figure to flush injured quarterback Alex Smith out of the pocket, where he has trouble moving, especially to his right. Tampa does not have a strong defense, but how good does it have to be here?

Washington limped to the wire but captured the NFC East with seven wins. Tampa Bay won 11, including the last four, and Tom Brady has never been better as a Buc than over the last four games. He’s got Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown and Mike Evans, along with a premier offensive line. The Tampa Bay mantra is winning shootouts.

The Washington defense is excellent and will make Brady battle for everything, but Brady is playing with renewed purpose now. This team has come together.

For Tampa bettors, the line is getting dicey, and many will tease it down, pay the premium and link this game into another one.

Note that the last two teams to win their divisions with sub .500 records, the 2010 Seahawks and 2014 Carolina Panthers, won their opening-round games. It’s hard to see a three-peat, though.

Who will win Ravens-Titans ground show?

The Ravens opened as slight favorites, the closest game of the first playoff week.

Don’t miss this one, opening Sunday’s schedule, especially if you love running games.

The over-under of 55 is the highest on the board this weekend. Titans running back Derrick Henry will be the subject of a prop-betting frenzy, from total yards to total touchdowns, anytime scoring and being the first touchdown scorer.

Henry surpassed 2,000 yards for the season in this past Sunday’s nail-biter over the Houston Texans. The Ravens stormed for 404 rushing yards, the first time in 20 years an NFL team did that, in crushing the Cincinnati Bengals, 38-3.

This is a Bengals team that had just beaten the Houston Texans, and then the Texans nearly defeated the Titans. That means the Ravens are scaling upward. Does that translate to an edge here?

Offensively, the teams have parity. Ryan Tannehill is an excellent, intelligent quarterback for the Titans. Henry is called “The Beast” for a reason. He has led the league in rushing the last two years. A.J. Brown is a bona fide deep threat for the Titans.

One intangible: The Ravens have been playing good defense, in part because their offense chews up a lot of time. Tennessee has one of the worst playoff defenses.

The defensive edge goes to the Ravens.

The second intangible, however, is the past.

The Titans stunned the Ravens, knocking them from the playoffs last year after Baltimore had compiled a 14-2 record. And earlier this season, the Titans beat the Ravens in overtime.

Do the Titans have the Ravens’ number, or is this Baltimore’s bounce back?

Great game coming.

Is there any NFL playoff love for Da Bears?

According to the odds, no.

The New Orleans Saints are the NFC’s No. 2  seed, which is represented by the opening week’s most lopsided line against the Chicago Bears, the last team to reach the playoffs.

Before bowing to the Green Bay Packers 35-16 last week, the Bears had scored 30 points or more in four straight weeks, a feat they had not accomplished since the 1960s. This is an overmatched Bears team but not a bad one, and the spread is huge.

The Saints should win, but it will be tempting for bettors to tease the line down.

Why is the Browns-Steelers line moving again?

Last week, the Cleveland Browns were -9 when they faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in a must-win situation. They did.

On Tuesday, they were +6 for the rematch, a swing of a whopping 15 points in two days.

What happened?

Pittsburgh had been an underdog for what became Sunday’s 24-22 loss to the Browns because it rested key players like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Even with that, the Steelers nearly pulled it out and opened for the rematch at -4.5.

But that line moved Tuesday once news broke that head coach Kevin Stefanski won’t coach on Sunday. He tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t be available to lead the team. That’s bound to have some effect, especially regarding communication on the field during the game. Some players also tested positive, but none, as of Tuesday afternoon, were overly significant.

Steelers bettors who jumped on the 4.5 relish that early decision.

Historically, the Steelers have owned the Browns at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh crushed Cleveland there 38-7 midway through the year.

How’s this matchup overall?

The Browns have a better running game; the Steelers own a better passing game and defense. And they have been here before, often. This is Cleveland’s first postseason appearance since 2002.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar



DraftKings Offering No-Brainer Bet For NFL Wild Card Weekend

DraftKings is offering new and existing users a chance double their money if any team scores a touchdown during Wild Card Weekend.

DraftKings Sportsbook is making sure every player walks away a winner this weekend when the NFL playoffs kick off.

For wild card games Saturday and Sunday, DraftKings is offering a no-brainer bet: double your money if any team scores a touchdown.

The promo is available to new and existing users. The max wager is $25.

Free money is a no-brainer, every time

This is not the first time DraftKings has offered a no-brainer bet.

In September, bettors had the opportunity to wager on a +101 point spread for the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the season opener against Houston Texans.

Last season, the no-brainer bet was whether the Philadelphia Eagles would score a touchdown in Week 1.

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How to take advantage of DraftKings’ promo

Getting a piece of the latest DraftKings no-brainer action is simple. Existing users need to log in and click on the promo link at the top of the page. 

New users can create an account by clicking the above link. You will need to deposit funds to cover the wager. 

Here are additional terms to the DraftKings no-brainer:

  • Offer applies to NFL Wild Card Weekend. 
  • Opt-in is required.
  • Bettors will be issued one single-use odds boost to use for “any team to score a touchdown.”
  • Boosted price is +100.
  • Bet must be placed prior to kickoff on Jan. 9 at 1:05 p.m. EST.
  • User must select the boost from their bet slip before placing a wager.
  • One qualifying bet per user.
  • Excludes live bets, parlays, free bets, cash-out bets and voided bets.

Wild NFL weekend on tap

There are six games on the NFL schedule this weekend. All times listed are Eastern Standard.


  • Indianapolis Colts (+6.5) at Buffalo Bills, 1:05 p.m. (CBS)
  • Los Angeles Rams (+4) at Seattle Seahawks, 4:40 p.m. (FOX)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8.5) at Washington Football Team, 8:15 p.m. (NBC)


  • Baltimore Ravens (+3.5)  at  Tennessee Titans, 1:05 p.m. (ABC/ESPN)
  • Chicago Bears (+10) at New Orleans Saints, 4:40 p.m. (CBS)
  • Cleveland Browns (+6) at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:15 p.m. (NBC)

All point spreads listed are from DraftKings as of 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

So with a total of six games and 12 teams, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that Wild Card Weekend will include plenty of TDs.

One is all it takes to cash in that bet slip.

AP Photo/Isaac Brekken


Wild Card Weekend Odds: Breaking Down NFL Playoff Field

The NFL playoff schedule will feature three games each on Saturday and Sunday starting with the Indianapolis Colts visting the Buffalo Bills.

Here come the NFL playoffs, the coveted second season for NJ sports betting operators and bettors.

Three games on Saturday and Sunday form a strong six-game Wild Card Weekend, adding two games to the first-round total of previous years.

As it prepares for the postseason, the NFL, sportsbooks, and gamblers savor a monster victory. The league completed all 256 regular season games without a single COVID-19-related cancellation.

We take a closer look at the Wild Card games in this week’s  Odds Five breakdown.

Saturday NFL playoff  games

The Buffalo Bills opened as a significant favorite over the visiting Indianapolis Colts for the weekend opener at DraftKings sportsbook.

The host Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams meet for the second time in three weeks. Favored Seattle won the last battle, 20-9.

In the evening finale, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a fat -7.5 against the host Washington Football Team. The 7-9 squad eared a home game by winning the NFC East. Hey, somebody had to do it.

Sunday NFL playoff games

The visting Baltimore Ravens opened at slightly above a field-goal favorite against the Tennessee Titans, in what could be the most entertaining matchup of the weekend. It opens the Sunday ticket.

The host New Orleans Saints are the lopsided chalk against the Chicago Bears in the middle game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, at -4, host the Cleveland Browns for the second straight week, this time with their starters, in the evening clash.

 Saturday NJ sports betting overview

Line shopping provided deals for Buffalo Bills bettors in the early trading.

While Buffalo opened at -7.5 at DraftKings, encouraging action on Indianapolis, William Hill had the line at -6.5. That’s an enticement for Bills’ bettors and indicates the sensitivity of that dreaded “7” number. Bettors will be ready to whale on either side of the Buffalo -7 line, depending on which team they prefer.

Buffalo enjoyed a monster regular-season sprint of six straight wins to the finish line. In that surge, they defeated the Steelers and then torched the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, and Miami Dolphins by scoring 142 points. That’s almost 50 a game.

Buffalo is doing the intangibles found with championship teams.

They  crushed a 10-6  Dolphins team that needed the season finale, 56-26. The Bills featured the league’s leading receiver in Stefon Diggs, a strong young quarterback in Josh Allen, a defense that picked Tua Tagovailoa three times and scored, along with a special team’s unit that delivered a punt-return score. One player, Isaiah McKenzie, scored three consecutive touchdowns, including the punt return TD.

This team is feelin it. And local officials just relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions to allow nearly 7,000 spectators into this game.

Indy has one of the game’s best coaches in Frank Reich and a good run game.

The Seahawks do just enough to win, week in and week out. They face a Rams team that gutted out a season-ending 18-7 triumph over the Arizona Cardinals without quarterback Jared Goff. The defense notched a score and quarterback John Wolford improved throughout the game.

But now he goes against Russell Wilson. In Los Angeles, there is sentiment to start Wolford, who accounted for nearly 300 combined pass and run yardage this past week against the Arizona Cardinals, even if Goff is healthy.

The Bucs, riding a similar wave of dominance, have crushed their last three foes, the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons (twice) to the tune of   122-61.

Tampa Bay has been on an offensive steamroll. In the last four games, Tom Brady has reached the level expected from him when he was lured away from the New England Patriots in the offseason.

Brady features a sizzling 12 touchdowns against just one interception over the last four games.  He has thrown for over 390 yards twice. Brady is releasing the ball with more certainty, the offensive line is protecting him, and a talented group of receivers like Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, and Antonio Brown help make Tampa Bay one of the hottest offensive team in the NFC.

The Bucs will meet a legitimate defense for the first time in four weeks, providing a good clash for Brady. One reason for the lopsided line? The Washington offense is weak.

Sunday NJ sports betting overview

The Ravens, the team nobody wants to play in the postseason, opened as slight road favorites against the Titans, who beat them 30-24 in overtime during the regular season.

Sunday’s opener features a terrific matchup of The Beast, Titans running back Derrick Henry, against the Lamar Jackson-led Ravens, who ran for an astounding 404 yards in Sunday’s 38-3 pasting of the Cincinnati Bengals. It was the most rushing yards in an NFL game by one team since the Bengals did it in 2000. The Ravens won their last five games to finish 11-5.

The Titans come off an exhilarating last-play triumph over the Houston Texans. And it was a roller-coaster ride for the bettors.

They won on a doink. Kicker Sam Sloman’s game-ending field goal banged off the right upright and snaked across the crossbar.

The Titans were heavily favored. Many moneyline parlays contained them winning this game. The “doink” therefore resonated with gamblers.

New Orleans looked methodical in crushing the Carolina Panthers, while the Bears flirted with an upset of the Green Bay Packers before surrendering two fourth-quarter scores and losing 35-16 in the season finale.

The line for this late-afternoon game says the second-seeded Saints are playing too well and should roll the team that got the last playoff spot. We’ll see.

And then the Browns and Steelers do it again, with everything on the line for both teams.

Cleveland nearly choked on the gift it was given Sunday, when the Steelers rested quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and others for a game they didn’t need.

Cleveland, at -9, jumped to a 24-9 lead early in the fourth quarter. But the Browns gave up 13 fourth-quarter points and escaped with a 24-22 home triumph. It took the denial of a two-point conversion to ensure the Browns’ first playoff appearance since 2002.

Now they are the visiting team and Roethlisberger is back in. The first line of Pittsburgh -4 was 13 points different than the Browns -9 for the week 17 finale.

Wild Card Weekend ‘bye’ standers

You won’t see the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend.  The Packers have the NFC top seed and the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs garnered the AFC’s lone bye. Each team will face the lowest-rated survivor of the Week 1 playoff round.

Both teams have home field throughout the playoffs.

Final look at the NFC East, the division nobody wanted

Every team had at least one four-game losing streak. The eventual winners, Washington, once dropped five straight.

No team could sustain the run that put it in first place.

The Eagles once in “command” of the division at 3-4-1, finished 1-7.

The Giants took over with a pulsating triumph against the Seahawks as a massive underdog, but then lost three straight. They escaped in Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys, who had won three straight, because Dallas fell apart inside the Giants’ 10-yard line in the final two minutes.

That put a light on Washington, which rebounded from a 1-5 start to win the division at 7-9. Its last four wins were on the road, including a strange 20-14 triumph over the Eagles on Sunday.

How strange?

Eagles coach Doug Pederson made two head-scratching moves in this game. He bypassed a chip-shot field goal that would have tied the game late in the third quarter and the Eagles did not score on fourth down. Pederson then inexplicably replaced starter Jalen Hurts, who had rushed for two touchdowns, in the fourth quarter.

Washington was on its heels and ripe to be beaten. Pederson’s move prompted derisive comments like “Tank You Very Much” by New York Giants fans, who accused the Eagles of laying down in order to preserve a better draft pick. Pederson was also second-guessed on the national broadcast.

Gamblers got burned, too. Hurts’ over-under rushing attempts was 9.5 across the major books. He was at eight and probably would have run at least twice more. When he sat, that bet lost.

On to the postseason, where history has been kind to teams in Washington’s position.

The two teams that did win their divisions with sub .500 records, the 2010 Seattle Seahawks and 2014 Carolina Panthers, both won their first-round game.

And the coach who did it in 2014?

Ron Rivera. The same Rivera that guides the 7-9 Football Team into this postseason.

AP Photo/John Munson



NJ Bettors Will Give Thanks For DraftKings Thanksgiving No-Brainer

The chances of the Ravens or Steelers scoring one TD on Thursday night looks like a lock. This makes the DraftKings odds boost a Thanksgiving no-brainer.

Editor’s Note: Thursday night’s Ravens-Steelers game has been postponed to Sunday. As a result, DraftKings Sportsbook refunded all bets tied into the original promotion. The new promo applies to the Dallas-Washington game taking place on Thanksgiving Day. 

How does turkey and pumpkin pie paired with a Thanksgiving no-brainer sound?

Thanksgiving offers us all the chance to show our gratitude. Not to be left out, DraftKings Sportsbook  is showing its users thanks by offering a no-brainer odds boost.

It involves a Thanksgiving night game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.

So what makes this a no-brainer?

Well, only one thing needs to happen for bettors to cash in a winning ticket. Either the Ravens or Steelers need to score a touchdown. It doesn’t matter which player or team does it.

Call it a can’t-miss NJ sports betting opportunity, as both offenses are averaging more than 26 points per game.

How to get the Thanksgiving no-brainer

The no-brainer odds boost is available to new and existing DraftKings Sportsbook customers. Customers who don’t have an account can sign up using the link below.

Once you sign in or create an account, follow these simple steps:

  • Find the odds boost in the DraftKings promo section.
  • You’ll need to opt in to receive boosted odds of +100.
  • Max bet is $25.
  • Excludes live bets, parlays, free wagers, cash-out bets, voided bets and other odds boosts.
  • Offer applies to one bet per user.

Kickoff isn’t until 8:20 EST on Thursday night, so DraftKings users still have plenty of time to take advantage of what is pretty much guaranteed to be a lock.

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Chances of Ravens and Steelers scoring TDs

The Pittsburgh and Baltimore offenses both currently rank among the NFL’s top teams in terms of points per game.

Basically, this odds boost is a can’t-miss bet, as the Steelers are averaging a tad under 30 points per game, good enough for fourth in the league. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (24 touchdowns) and wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster (eight TDs) and Chase Claypool (eight TDs) are a big reason why.

On the other side of the coin, the Ravens, led by reigning MVP Lamar Jackson (15 TDs), are averaging about 27 points a game, so a touchdown is pretty much guaranteed. Tight end Mark Andrews has six touchdowns.

The bigger question here is how many players will miss Thursday night’s game, as the Ravens were forced to shut down their practice facility due to COVID-19. The two teams learned on Wednesday that the contest is being pushed back to Sunday afternoon.

However, it only takes one touchdown to cash in the winning ticket. So it’s pretty much a sure thing bettors will have something else to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.