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Sunday NFL playoff odds: Patriots, Saints listed as favorites

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The matchup involves the New England Patriots and Tom Brady, at home, in January, with the prospect of nasty northeast weather – but then there’s also their opponent’s sterling record as an underdog.

The Patriots are 4-point betting favorites on the NFL odds against the Los Angeles Chargers with a 47.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for their Divisional Playoff matchup at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Patriots are 15-0 straight-up and 12-3 against the spread in their last 15 games as home favorites, according to the OddsShark NFL Database, and are also 7-3 ATS in their last 10 playoff games. However, the Chargers are 5-0 SU in their last five games on the East Coast, and are also 7-1 SU and ATS in their last eight games as an underdog of 4.5 or fewer points.

The Chargers, who are 13-4 SU and 10-7 ATS, did not need a great show of offensive proficiency to advance out of Wild Card Weekend, but quarterback Philip Rivers is one of the NFL’s best at the chunk play – passes thrown more than 20 yards downfield – and the Patriots, at least in the regular season, showed some vulnerability in their deep coverage.

The Chargers’ leading rusher, Melvin Gordon, is expected to be healthy to face a run defense that was 29th in opponents’ yards per carry (4.9).

How the Patriots, who were 11-5 SU and 9-7 ATS, go about their business barely needs introducing – they give Brady a tightly insulated pocket and work in a bruising running game. New England allowed just 21 sacks in the regular season but the Chargers have strong edge pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.

The Chargers boast a stout pass defense (7.1 yards per attempt) that particularly excels at taking away tight ends, so Rob Gronkowski could be limited, forcing Brady to find outside targets such as Julian Edelman. New England’s losses this season have come when their ground game was stifled, and the Chargers have an adequate run defense.

Weather could be a factor, and the total has gone UNDER in five of the Chargers’ last six games against the Patriots, with a combined score of 40.5 points. The total has also gone UNDER in eight of the Patriots’ last nine games, with an average combined score of 40.89 points.

Also Sunday, the New Orleans Saints are 8-point betting favorites against the Philadelphia Eagles with a 51.5-point total in their Divisional Playoff matchup. The Saints are 14-2 SU in their last 16 games at home, but just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 playoff games as the favorite. The Eagles are 1-4 SU and ATS in their last five games against the Saints.

The Eagles, who are 10-7 SU and 7-9-1 ATS after eking out a Wild Card Weekend win at Chicago, seem to be a changed team from the one that lost 48-7 against the Saints eight weeks ago. Quarterback Nick Foles has a matchup against a defense that was in the lower third of the league in stopping the pass, so the playoff-seasoned Eagles might be able to extend a trend of being 6-2 ATS in their last eight games in the playoffs on the road.

The Eagles’ by-committee backfield gets different conditions indoors at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome than at Chicago’s Soldier Field, but the Saints have the league’s No. 2-ranked run defense.

The Saints, 13-3 SU and 10-6 ATS, clearly rate the edge at quarterback since Drew Brees has been unstoppable in his climate-controlled home. While the Eagles seem sounder physically and schematically than they were in that Week 11 shellacking, Brees just has too many weapons – Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, just to name two – and an offensive line that allowed just 20 sacks should limit the Eagles’ capability of getting pressure with a four-man rush.

One reason why the Saints might not cover the touchdown-plus point spread, though, is that their rushing game has regressed while the Eagles have improved in this phase, which could mean the Saints end up being somewhat one-dimensional.

The total has gone UNDER in three of the Eagles’ last four games against the Saints, with an average combined score of 50.5 points. The total has gone UNDER in five of the Saints’ last seven games, with an average combined score of 42.14 points.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

EPL Matchweek Odds: Liverpool favored over Manchester United

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The twist scenario in this weekend’s derby is that the pressure is on the visiting, first-place Liverpool – which could make Manchester United the value play.

Liverpool is the +135 away favorite on the Premier League odds with host Manchester United coming back at +205, while the draw is offering +250 and there is a 2.5-goal total for Sunday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

This is first-place Liverpool’s game in hand over second-place Manchester City; while the Reds are undefeated in 26 of their last 27 away matches, they are coming off a desultory 0-0 draw against Germany’s Bayern Munich this week in Champions League play. Manchester United’s new-found confidence attributed to caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is borne out by some strong trends, which include scoring at least two goals in six consecutive matches, while also winning eight of their last nine in the league.

Confidence in Manchester United, which is led by midfield magician Paul Pogba, could be tempered somewhat if first-choice starters Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are ruled out of action. Liverpool would seem like a safe bet to continue its skein of scoring in every away game in the league this season, even though Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have not been capitalizing at a high rate of late.

Cardiff City (+215) and Watford (+140, draw +230) meet in a Friday EPL matchup with a strong OVER trend, as 10 of their last 11 meetings have had more than two goals. With Cardiff refreshed by a bye week and Watford being without suspended left back Jose Holebas, alternate totals such as OVER 3.5 (+245) should be considered.

West Ham United (-115) hosts Fulham (+325, draw +295), which has been a feeble away team that has lost 10 of its last 11 away games in the league, while also trailing at halftime in seven of its last eight away games. West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic (+333 first scorer, EVEN anytime) should have ample opportunity to score. In correct score group props, West Ham United 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 (+450) is a high-value, if chancier, play.

Burnley (+425) takes dubious trends against Tottenham Hotspur (-145, draw +270) into a Saturday matchup. Tottenham has kept a clean sheet in the last three meetings and is undefeated in the past nine. Burnley is a tough out at home, and Tottenham win / yes (+250) and yes / over 2.5 (+125) both offer value in both teams to score prop betting.

Bournemouth (+180) and Wolverhampton (+160, draw +235) is the tautest three-way moneyline of the week. The slight home underdog Cherries are an attacking team at home and five of the Wolves’ last six away matches have gone OVER 2.5 goals, so both teams to score props are worth poring over, and Either Team 2-1 (+350) has potential in the correct score group props.

And Leicester City (+120) hosts Crystal Palace (+250, draw +235) dragging a three-match home losing streak, as well as a three-match goalless streak against the visiting Eagles.

The head-to-head trend makes Crystal Palace the percentage play on the double chance (-140 for a win or draw), but there is potential for offense and Leicester could get it from winger Demarai Gray (+900 first scorer, +330 anytime), with Jamie Vardy (+350 first scorer, +120 anytime) being the usual suspect.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Red Sox, Yankees share top of 2019 World Series odds board

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With Major League Baseball so split into the win-now and win-later camps, it lends itself to wondering whether the grand old game will see it its first repeat champion in almost two decades.

The reigning Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are each listed at +600 on the 2019 World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. After the AL East’s two behemoths, the top of the board also includes the Houston Astros (+800)  and Los Angeles Dodgers (+800).

No team has repeated since the 1998-2000 Yankees won three World Series in a row. But the Red Sox, led by reigning MVP Mookie Betts, are coming off a dominant 108-win season where they scored 876 runs. Boston also has proven pitching depth.

The current Yankees should also be formidable at bat and on the mound, particularly with a bullpen of Dellin Bettances, Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman and Adam Ottavino that could be lights-out in the postseason. Whoever finishes first in the AL East – keep in mind that the last four World Series champions have been either a No. 1 or No. 2 playoff seed in their league – will rate an excellent chance of being the favorite in October.

The Astros and the Dodgers rate the relatively short odds. However, the respective AL West and NL West champs face questions about their pitching – Houston bid adieu to Dallas Keuchel, whereas Los Angeles is wondering how much velocity Clayton Kershaw will recover after three consecutive years of battling injuries – that beg taking a wait-and-see approach.

Recent league MVP Bryce Harper is still unsigned and the team that the slugging outfielder has been most linked to, the Philadelphia Phillies (+1400), presents excellent value farther down the board, including on the season win totals at sportsbooks.

The most tightly contested division is expected to be the NL Central with the Chicago Cubs (+1400), St. Louis Cardinals (+1400) and Milwaukee Brewers (+1600). Of those three, the Cardinals, who added slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt over the winter, might be the most undervalued.

The Atlanta Braves (+1600), Cleveland Indians (+1600) and Washington Nationals (+1600) are all recent playoff teams. Atlanta probably has the most upside of those teams by virtue of having a young corps, and a longshot play on a team building toward its peak is always better than taking a team past its best-before date.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.