Points of Interest: NFL Week 8 Over/Under picks and predictions

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The Chargers continued their habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but more concerningly have struggled on both sides of the ball, sitting middle of the pack by offensive EPA and 26th on defense.

And, while the Bears sit at .500, it’s hard to watch Mitch Trubisky in Week 7 and have high hopes for the team. The defense has predictably regressed (still a great defense but sixth by EPA and not the dominating force of 2018) but the offense has averaged just 4.4 yards per play (30th) and sits 28th by EPA – one spot ahead of the winless Bengals.

I’ll be filing those two away for future plays. On to this week’s picks.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT ATLANTA FALCONS (+5.5, 53.5)

The Atlanta Falcons are terrible: a 1-6 record and the worst defense in the NFL by EPA (worse than Miami) but at least their offense is good, right? Though they rank 17th in points scored, they sit ninth by EPA, fourth in number of first downs and 12th by yards per play. Not quite the Atlanta offense we’re used to but at least solid. Sadly, it’s much worse than that.

Atlanta has been the king of garbage time this season. Of its 19 touchdowns, 11 have come in the fourth quarter and five of those happened when its chances to win the game were sub-10 percent. Interestingly, Seattle sits not far behind in the garbage time rankings, scoring 10 TDs in the fourth quarter and four when they’d already lost the game (see Week 3 vs the Saints).

Now, it may be that Seattle jumps in front and the fourth quarter pushes this one Over, but I’ll take the side of the run-heavy Seahawks controlling the game and Matt Ryan having no reason to risk his tender ankle (if he does play) come garbage time in the final frame.

PREDICTION: Under 53.5

CLEVELAND BROWNS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-13, 46)

The Patriots offense certainly looked better than it had in previous weeks, though again much of that can be attributed to the defense creating havoc in Jets territory in the first half. The Patriots rank middle of the pack by offensive EPA and yards per play and have struggled to produce big plays, ranking in the Bottom 10 in plays of more than 10 yards. Fortunately for the offense, the defense ranks first in just about every important category which has more than hidden their struggles thus far.

Baker Mayfield and the Browns, meanwhile, have been one of the big (negative) surprises of 2019. They sit 26th in offensive EPA, with the lone bright spot being Nick Chubb, who’s averaging over 100 yards rushing per game.

When you look at the Browns’ performances versus the good defenses, they put up 13 points per game against the Titans, Jets, Rams and 49ers. Not a recipe for success against the Pats. I’m looking for a repeat of the last few week, with the Patriots defense doing the heavy lifting while the offense methodically moves the ball downfield, chewing up the clock.

PREDICTION: Under 46

MIAMI DOLPHINS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-14.5, 43)

Not exactly a marquee matchup but a perhaps a more interesting game than at first glance. Miami had a legitimate shot to win a game last week, putting up close to 400 yards of offense against a very good Bills defense. And while you can never count on getting the good Fitzpatrick, he can be counted on to create big plays of one type or another.

Among all QBs this year, Fitzpatrick ranks first in plays with EPAs of +/- 3 or more (i.e. big plays or mistakes), producing 11 on just 104 throws. Mason Rudolph isn’t far behind, sitting sixth at 8.4 percent of throws.

Add in a dreadful Miami defense that ranks just ahead of the Falcons by EPA, and we have the makings of an ugly game where they put up enough points to top a well below-average total.

PREDICTION: Over 43

Week 7: 3-0
Season to date: 9-12

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