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Make some money on Chargers RB Ekeler in Motown, and Friday’s NFL betting odds and picks

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It’s Friday and that means the countdown to NFL Sunday starts the second you get home, crack a beer/pour the wine (or both, we’re not your mother) and put those “weekend” sweats on. You might as well get in a few NFL bets while you’re relaxing.**video

We break down the best betting angles – and not just for spread and totals – presenting our NFL picks for team totals, props and derivatives in our daily NFL betting predictions.

EKELER EATS

The Los Angeles Chargers are already in Defcon 3 as their offensive talent is dropping like Donte Moncrief catches. Heading into Sunday’s cross-country tilt against the Detroit Lions (+2.5), the Bolts will be without their starting tight end and possibly their No. 2 receiver as well as their kicker. To make matters worse, top wide receiver Keenan Allen will likely draw Lions corner Darius Slay who PFF has ranked as the eighth-best CB heading into 2019.

Few offensive options + Austin Ekeler x (Philip Rivers) = Ek Eats

One week after scoring the game-winning touchdown versus the Colts in overtime, Ekeler will be riding high against the Lions who gave up 132 all-purpose yards to David Johnson, including six receptions on seven targets for 55 yards and a score. The Chargers have no choice but to get the ball into Ekeler’s mitts and the best and most productive way to do that is through the air.

We’re going to pass on Ekeler’s total receptions as it sits at 5.5 (+102) but hitting the Over on his receiving yards total of 45.5 (-114) and will also double down on his total yards (99.5) in what we see as a plus-matchup for the pint-sized back.

BEARISH ON BOYD

Are you getting behind the Andy Dalton MVP train at +15,000? Yeah, neither is anyone else. That’s not to say that the Red Rocket’s receiving corps isn’t talented but there won’t be many – if any – 400-yard passing games for the Bengals going forward.

Cincinnati receiver John Ross exploded for 150-plus yards on 12 targets while fellow WR Tyler Boyd managed 60 yards on 11 targets. With Boyd likely to draw the tougher assignment against San Francisco CB Richard Sherman on the outside and averaging just 6.92 air yards per depth of target last week, there’s value in his receiving total of 73.5 yards in Week 2.

The San Francisco defense was supposed to get lit up last week by Jameis Winston & Co. but instead scored two defensive touchdowns and held Bruce Arians’ offense to under 200 yards passing with three picks. Add in the fact that the Bengals allowed five sacks last week, and we are grabbing the Under 73.5 on Boyd’s receiving yards and can also get behind the Under on the Bengals’ team total of 23.5.

THE AIR UP THERE

Covers’ Senior Industry Analyst Jason Logan wrote a great piece on the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos matchup and how the altitude affects teams early in the season as their conditioning isn’t in midseason form:

“Denver is the worst place to play early in the season, specifically in the Broncos’ home openers. Since 2000, Denver is an incredible 18-1 SU in home openers and has gone 11-4-4 ATS in those Mile High debuts (73 percent)”

Logan goes on to mention that the lack of oxygen could be detrimental to the Bears. Head coach Matt Nagy ran an offensive play every 26 seconds (ninth most) last week and pushed it even more in the second half with a play every 21 seconds (fourth most in 2H). If the air is a big factor like these trends possibly indicate, then the Bears may have to play slower which could alter the rhythm of the offense and impair the quality of play.

With the total already dropping a full-point to 40.5 after opening at 41.5, we are looking at Chicago’s team total for better value. We are ridin’ the Bears’ team total Under 21.5.

DOUBLING ON BIG D

On Wednesday we backed the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins Over 46.5. Today, we are going back to the nation’s capital and doing some things that are usually a betting no-no.

To make it clear, we are chasing a previous week’s performance AND laying 5.5 points on the road versus a divisional game. Usually, that’s a recipe for losing money, but Dallas’ new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has the Cowboys doing things they weren’t doing under former coordinator Scott Linehan. Moore called play-action on 48 percent of the plays, motioned in 73 percent and ran three-WR sets on 73 percent, combining for 494 total yards of offense.

Washington may also do a good job of shooting itself in the foot and giving the ball back to the Cowboys on Sunday. The Redskins had eight offensive penalties in Philadelphia (five holding, two false starts and a delay of game) and punted on five of their last seven possessions — scoring a TD and field goal.

Coming into the season, Washington was ranked near the bottom of the league. With its competitive performance in Philadelphia, people may have forgotten just how bad this team is. Take Dallas’ team total Over 26.5 and -5.5 for a double shot of Big D.

THE LEGS IN L.A.

Kickers are people too and our kicker props went 2-0 last week. For our third installment, we are taking a pair of kicking thoroughbreds in Los Angeles Rams’ Greg “the leg” Zuerlein and New Orleans Saints’ Wil “Gruff” Lutz.

Zuerlein is already raining threes from downtown this year after hitting from 56 and 49 yards last week while Lutz is still riding high after his remarkable game-winning and career-best 58-yarder on MNF.

In what looks like a beautiful forecast and optimal kicking conditions in Los Angeles, bang the Over 47.5 yards for the longest field goal.

Canucks vs Golden Knights picks and predictions for Game 1

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Perhaps no team has been more fun to follow during the NHL playoffs than the Vancouver Canucks, and hockey bettors can still get the Canucks at +1,300 to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. Vancouver is coming off a thrilling series win against the defending champion St. Louis Blues, but now a much more difficult challenge awaits. The Vegas Golden Knights are +350 favorites to win it all, and they’ve certainly looked the part while dropping only one playoff contest.

Game 1 of this series gets underway Sunday, so we’re here to bring you our NHL picks and predictions in this Western Conference semifinal showdown.

Vancouver Canucks vs Vegas Golden Knights betting preview

Starting Goalies

Canucks: Jacob Markstrom – playoffs – 7-3, 2.44 GAA, .929 SV% (season – 23-16, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%)

Golden Knights: Robin Lehner – playoffs – 5-1, 2.44 GAA, .904 SV% (season – 19-10, 2.89, .920 SV%)

If this game was actually played in Las Vegas, then Markstrom could easily spend a few hours performing with Cirque du Soleil. The 30-year-old dazzled against Blues with an eye-opening array of acrobatic saves and an impressive 7-3 record. He’ll need to provide more of the same against a dangerous Vegas squad.

The Knights will likely roll with Robin Lehner, who has taken over the spot as Vegas’s starter in the crease—and rightfully so. Still, the Knights have the luxury of having Marc-Andre Fleury as their “backup.” The five-time All-Star matched an NHL record this season with his 14th consecutive playoff appearance.

Injuries

Vancouver: Tyler Myers D (out), Tyler Toffoli RW (out), Micheal Ferland LW (out), Josh Leivo LW (out)

Vegas: Tomas Nosek LW (out)

Betting Trend to Know

Canucks are 0-6 in their last six Sunday games. Find the latest NHL betting trends for Canucks vs. Golden Knights.

MONEYLINE PICK

The Canucks have been a force with the extra man during the postseason, converting 26.2% of their power plays. While the Knights are known for their offensive firepower, it’s their stingy defense that allows them to suffocate opponents—as evidenced by an 86.4% penalty kill during their playoff run. Vancouver is the only team in the league to never beat Vegas in regulation, going 0-11 all time. That’s something I just can’t ignore.

PREDICTION: Vegas ML (-175)

OVER/UNDER PICK

Each team is filled with loads of offensive talent. Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller have combined for 11 goals thus far. Elias Pettersson has racked up 13 points, tied with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon for the playoff lead.

The Knights can match Vancouver’s scorers, but they’re more balanced—Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch and Mark Stone have each lit the lamp four times during the postseason. The difference is on defense, where Vancouver has allowed the most high-danger chances of all remaining playoff teams.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-110)

PROP PICK

Though I like Vegas to win, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks kept it close and continued their offensive success. I’ll take a flyer on Vancouver scoring at least three goals.

PREDICTION: Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)

Canucks vs Golden Knights Betting Card

  • Vegas ML (-175)
  • Over 5.5 (-110)
  • Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)
NHL Parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NHL Canucks vs Golden Knights picks, you could win $104.93 on a $10 bet?

Use our NHL parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook