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Cash in on Melvin Gordon against the Jaguars, and the NFL best bets you need to make in Week 14

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Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is starting to play like he did before his holdout and gets a mouthwatering matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars in NFL action on Sunday. We dive into the Week 14 odds, not just looking into pointspreads and totals but digging into the very best bets on the board: props, team totals, derivative markets and more.

THE X-MYLES

The Jacksonville Jaguars have sent starting linebacker Myles Jack to the injured reserved, ending his season. Jack leads the Jags in tackles and his absence is bad news for the Jaguars’ 31st-ranked DVOA rush defense but great news for the Los Angeles Chargers’ running backs.

Under new offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Melvin Gordon is averaging 89 rushing yards and 21.5 receiving yards a game while the pint-sized Austin Ekeler is putting up 85 total yards himself. The Chargers’ offense hasn’t been putting up many points on the board this year but they have managed 370 yards of offense per game over their last three games — the seventh-most between Kansas City and San Francisco.

We are throwing down on Gordon’s Over 75.5 rushing yards but shying away on Ekeler’s receiving total of 53.5, which we feel is a little too high.

ARE YOU GOING TO THE SCARBROUGH FAIR?

Detroit Lions running back Bo Scarbrough has more rushing yards than Nick Chubb, Ezekiel Elliott and Mark Ingram over the last two weeks as the 2018 7th-round pick has the second-most rushing attempts since Week 12. The Lions’ back also has 2.4 yards per carry after first contact which is the best mark in the leauge. The Lions are rushing the ball nearly 30 times a game as they try to take pressure off their inexperienced backup quarterback play.

Detroit will be in tough versus a Minnesota Vikings team that is giving up the seventh-fewest rushing yards at home. We don’t expect the Lions to totally abandon the run even if they fall behind early as they have nothing to play for. Therefore, we aren’t afraid to take Scarbrough’s rushing attempt total which sits at 18.5. We are playing the Over on that carry total but may shop around first and look for a lower total closer to Sunday.

RETURN OF THE MACK

The Indianapolis Colts got some great news this week as running back Marlon Mack returned to practice on Thursday. Mack had been sidelined with a hand injury for nearly three weeks. The Colts are one of the league’s best running teams, averaging 139 yards per game (4th) and are banged up in the receiving department (T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron and Chester Rogers). That might force them to lean on the run more ahead of Sunday’s game against the Tampa Buccaneers and their No. 1 DVOA rush defense.

Tampa is giving up just 76 yards on the ground this year, 72 over its last three games and have held teams’ leading rusher to under 40 yards in three of their last four games. We don’t trust Mack’s rushing total (once his markets open when he is declared active), but we do like his anytime TD.

The Colts have scored six rushing TDs over their last three games and will need Mack to cross the pylons with a lack of receiving talent and their playoff hopes still alive. Take Mack’s anytime TD.

DOUBLE TROUBLE

Matt Ryan and Kyle Allen are the most sacked quarterbacks over the last three weeks. Combined, Ryan and Allen have been taken down 34 times since Week 11. As luck would have it, the Carolina Panthers travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons on Sunday, making a play on the total sack prop quite mouthwatering.

Atlanta’s QB will face a hungry Panthers team under new direction while also getting to opposing QBs nearly four times a game. Things could turn ugly as the Falcons are giving up pressure Ryan on 31 percent of plays (23rd-worst).

Carolina’s rookie QB has looked horrendous at moments and has been sacked 39 times in his 10 games this year. Carolina’s O-line is allowing pressure at a 32-percent rate. Take the Over 5.5 sacks.

 

PointsBet USA unveils partnership with Detroit Tigers

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In the absence of MLB games until – hopefully – later this month, MLB betting made some news Thursday with the announcement that PointsBet USA is now the official gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers. It’s the first such arrangement between a sports betting entity and an MLB team, made possible by PointsBet USA’s recent agreement with MLB designating the sportsbook as an authorized gaming operator by the league.

“The PointsBet team is excited to announce our groundbreaking deal with the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball, becoming the first legal sports betting operator in U.S. history to partner with an MLB franchise,” PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said in a news release. “We offer the most betting options in the world on MLB games via our unique PointsBetting product, and we are excited to inject a unique and robust betting proposition into the great state of Michigan.”

Michigan legalized sports betting in December, for both brick-and-mortar and online operators, and books began taking bets in March. PointsBet USA is not only the first book to partner with an MLB franchise, but the first to partner with any Michigan-based professional sports team.

As part of the multi-year deal, PointsBet USA will have TV broadcast-visible branding at Comerica Park, a sponsored presence on the Tigers’ digital platforms, and will be integrated into The District Detroit app and the MLB Ballpark app.

“We are thrilled to welcome PointsBet as a gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers,” said Chris Granger, group president of sports and entertainment for Ilitch Holdings. “Our incredible fans will love the unique experiences and innovative offerings that PointsBet’s personalized platform provides. We look forward to the fan-friendly enhancements this will bring to the game-day experience in and around Comerica Park for years to come.”

NBA betting: Eight seeding games to bet when NBA returns

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NBA betting is back on the board with the NBA season restarting in Orlando after the COVID-19 shutdown. From July 30-August 14, the 22 remaining teams with NBA Championship aspirations will face off against each other to determine playoff seeding, so get ready for some exciting matchups.

We take a look at eight must-bet NBA seeding games to watch as the league returns to action.

Clippers vs Lakers (-1.5, 218.5), July 30, 9 p.m. ET

When the Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, take on Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA doesn’t get much better than this. Opening day and Christmas Day also featured this marquee matchup and the opening night of the restart in Orlando will mark the fourth time this season that these LA rivals have faced off.

The Lakers are third in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing 106.9 points per game, while the Clippers hold opponents to just 43.6 percent shooting from the field, also third-best in the league. With both teams coming in off lengthy breaks, there may be some rust on the offensive end of the floor making the Under 218.5 an intriguing play.

Betting trend to watch: The Clips won the first two meetings while the Lakers won the last one in March. The Under hit in each of those contests with an average score of 108.7-106.7 in favor of the Clippers.

Celtics vs Bucks (-5, 217.5), July 31, 6:30 p.m. ET

Barring an absolute collapse, the Milwaukee Bucks will wrap up the No. 1 seed in the East, but they will still likely want to play MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounmpo in this one just to shake off the cobwebs after the break.

This could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals and it will be interesting to see how Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker looks after being hampered by knee issues following the All-Star break. Boston split the series with Milwaukee during the season and Walker torched the Bucks both times, scoring 32 points against them in November and putting up 40 on them in January.

Betting trend to watch: Milwaukee opened as a five-point favorite, with the total set at 217.5, but don’t count out the Celtics, who have gone an impressive 14-4 ATS as an underdog this season.

Rockets vs Mavericks (+1.5, 225.5), July 31, 9 p.m. ET

The battle between James Harden and Luka Doncic will be a treat for basketball fans, but the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks have plenty of firepower in addition to their All-NBA guards.

With the full game total for this contest opening at a reasonable 225.5, keep an eye on the first half total when it drops.

Betting trend to watch: Fast starts have been a trend for both squads, with Houston leading the league with 59.9 first-half points per game and Dallas second with 59.3 ppg. For good measure, the Rockets also rank 25th in the NBA in first-half scoring defense, surrendering 58.1 ppg.

Heat vs Nuggets (-1, 212.5), August 1, 1 p.m ET

Both the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets could see their seeding change dramatically based on how they perform in Orlando. Miami has an absolute gauntlet to run through with its first four games against Denver, Toronto, Boston and Milwaukee.

The Nuggets have long had a massive edge at home, due to the increased elevation at the Pepsi Center, and losing that advantage in Orlando could hurt. Then again, Miami could be in the same boat considering that they posted an average scoring margin of plus-9.3 ppg at home — and that plummeted to minus-2.7 in away contests.

Betting trend to watch: The Heat have been one of the highest-scoring teams in the league during the first quarter, but have really struggled to put the ball in the hoop at the end of games, averaging just 26 ppg in the fourth quarter. With Denver holding opponents to just 26.2 fourth-quarter points per game on the road, this is a trend you’ll want to consider when live betting in the final 12 minutes.

Bucks vs Rockets, August 2, 8:30 p.m. ET

It’s always a blast watching two MVP favorites face off against each other, and after Harden came up short against Antetokounmpo last year there seems to be a lack of respect between the two superstars. The Greek Freak took a potshot at Harden when he selected his team during All-Star weekend, with the Rockets guard responding with, “I wish I could be 7 feet and run and just dunk. Like, that takes no skill at all.”

Betting trend to watch: Unfortunately for the small-ball Rockets, defending in the paint is their biggest weakness, especially after trading away Clint Capela left them with the 6’5″ PJ Tucker often manning the center position. Houston allows 51.5 ppg in the paint, sixth-worst in the league, and Giannis is the most dominant inside scorer since Shaq, putting up 29.6 ppg this season.

Grizzlies vs Pelicans, August 3, 6:30 p.m. ET

Not only will this matchup feature the two best rookies in the league in Ja Morant and Zion Williamson, but it will also be a prime spot for the New Orleans Pelicans to gain ground on the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

New Orleans was impressive on offense even without Zion and have become even more unstoppable since the first-overall draft pick joined the team on January 22. Once Zion joined the fold the Pelicans averaged 120.1 ppg and played at the fastest pace in the league.

Betting trend to watch: Thanks in large part to Morant, Memphis also looks good on the offensive end of the floor, ranking seventh in the league in both possessions per game and shooting percentage. With both teams electrifying on offense – and terrible on defense – this should be a very fun game with the Over worth looking at.

Trail Blazers vs Nuggets, August 6, 8 p.m ET

There might not a more dangerous team currently outside a playoff spot than the Portland Trail Blazers, who arguably boast the second-best backcourt out of all 22 teams in Orlando and will also get center Jusuf Nurkic back from a broken leg. The Nuggets are third in the West but sit only 1.5 games behind the Clippers and 1.5 games ahead of the Jazz, so every game matters.

This is a rematch of last year’s Western Conference semifinals, where the Blazers upset the Nuggets in seven games. In three games head-to-head this year the Nuggets went 3-0 SU and ATS.

Betting trend to watch: Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard has struggled against Denver, averaging 21.6 ppg on 37.7 percent shooting over his last seven regular-season games against the Nuggets. Although he played better during the playoff series last season, it was CJ McCollum who carried the Blazers offense, especially in Game 7 when Lillard went 3-17 from the field.

Raptors vs 76ers, August 12, 6:30 p.m. ET

There might not be much on the line if the Toronto Raptors have already secured a seed by this time, but if their nerve-wracking seven-game playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers last year is any indication, this should still be a great game.

Betting trend to watch: It will be interesting to see how these teams play on neutral ground. Toronto has been one of the best teams in the league away from home, going 23-9 SU and 16-15 ATS and posting an average scoring margin of plus-4.2 ppg. On the other hand, the 76ers have been terrible on the road, going 10-24 SU, 9-23 ATS and posting a scoring margin of minus-5.3.