NJ iGaming Profession History $245 Million in Takings Over 2017 for 24.9% Uptick

NJ iGaming Profession History $245 Million in Takings Over 2017 for 24.9% Uptick

New Jersey’s online gambling industry ended 2017 in style, as state-licensed iGaming sites posted monthly revenue of $ 20.75 million for a 12.9 percent increase year-on-year.

December marked the third straight month of revenue growth, capping off a record-breaking year that saw New Jersey iGaming generate $ 245.6 million in annual revenue. The figure easily surpassed last year’s annual revenue of $ 196.7 million, good for a year-on-year gain of 24.9 percent.

When net gaming wins were divided by game type, the casino segment – comprised of table games and slots – was the clear market leader. Casino games accounted for $ 221.3 million, or more than 90 percent, of the annual revenue haul. With more than $ 50.1 million in annual revenue added, the casino segment grew by 30.1 percent year-on-year.

On the other side of the coin, poker revenue dropped slightly from $ 26.5 million in 2016 to $ 24.2 million last year, down 8.5 percent on the year.

The Golden Nugget licensing group – which includes GoldenNuggetCasino.com, BetfairCasino.com, and PlaySugarHouse.com – was the overwhelming leader in December. Golden Nugget licensees posted $ 6.08 million in combined monthly revenue, well ahead of the Borgata licensing group (BorgataCasino, BorgataPoker, and PartyPoker among others) at $ 4.3 million.

The Golden Nugget has dominated New Jersey iGaming since August of 2016, all without an affiliated poker product. Instead, the group rolled out the state’s first Live Dealer table games, which connect players via live stream to human dealers operating genuine casino equipment from within a dedicated onsite studio.

Golden Nugget licensees combined for $ 68.6 million in annual revenue across 2017 – up an astounding 62.3 percent over 2016 – handily beating out Borgata at $ 48.5 million (3.2 percent increase year-on-year).

In early 2011, lawmakers in the Garden State voted to authorize regulated iGaming, but Governor Chris Christie rejected the plan as unfeasible under federal law. At the time, the Department of Justice (DOJ) interpreted the Wire Act of 1961 – a federal ban on sports betting via the telephone – loosely enough to apply the law to all forms of online gambling.

That changed in December of 2011, when the DOJ released a memorandum limiting the Wire Act to sports betting only. As a result, individual states were free to legislate iGaming on their own terms, and by 2013 a newly passed bill was signed into law.

By 2014, the industry generated $ 122.9 million in annual revenue, a figure which has grown by at least 20 percent in every year since. The market’s monthly revenue peaked at $ 21.7 million in March of 2017.

Given Attorney General Jeff Session’s previously stated opposition to online gambling legalization, and recent attempts to revive the “Restore America’s Wire Act” effort to ban iGaming on the federal level, New Jersey’s political establishment has rallied in bipartisan fashion to save the state’s cash cow.

In a letter sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of the DOJ, New Jersey’s senior U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and nine colleagues representing both sides of the aisle directly referenced the record-setting run of revenue growth:

“Since 2011, New Jersey has enjoyed robust revenues from online gambling.

In fact, 2017 has already shattered records with $ 200 million in revenue in the first ten months.

This has coincided with a rebirth of Atlantic City. This growth in revenue is in large part due to significant capital investments by the state in online gaming facilities, equipment, and technology that makes online gaming safe and secure.”

With gross gaming revenue taxed at a 15 percent rate, December’s totals sent $ 3.3 million straight into the state’s coffers. Since the launch of regulated iGaming in 2013, New Jersey has generated $ 126.6 million in tax revenue.


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NFL Odds 2017: Week 17 Betting Preview

NFL Odds 2017: Week 17 Betting Preview

For a select few teams in the NFL, Week 17 offers an opportunity to end the year in style. Whether they’re securing a first-round bye and home field advantage, claiming the division crown, or simply sneaking into the postseason tournament, these teams have everything to play for entering the regular season’s final Sunday.

For the rest of the league, relishing the role of spoiler should provide ample motivation – especially given Week 17’s all intra-division schedule.

And even with a few teams planning to rest their starting squad, oddball betting lines are enough to keep ostensible mismatches interesting.

Beginning with the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons (9-6) host the Carolina Panthers (11-4) in a game rife with playoff implications.

Atlanta controls its own destiny and can clinch a Wild Card berth with a win. Following last year’s inexplicable collapse in the Super Bowl, the Falcons would love a chance to redeem themselves – while missing the tournament altogether would represent a humiliating fall from grace.

Carolina is already in, but the Panthers can clinch the NFC South and a home playoff game with a win (combined with a Saints loss). And while it’s a longshot, a Panthers win plus losses by the Saints, Vikings, and Rams would ensure Carolina a first-round bye.

The Panthers notched a 20-17 home win the last time these teams met, but in the rubber match, online sportsbook Bovada likes the Falcons to flip that script as 3.5-point favorites.

Only one game on the AFC side pits a pair of potential playoff teams against one another, and similarly, it involves the South. The Tennessee Titans (8-7) host the Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5), with the home team in need of a win to earn a Wild Card spot.

Tennessee’s incentive is straightforward, but intrigue abounds in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars have already clinched the division and locked themselves into the third seed. With no ability to change the team’s seeding, first-year head coach Doug Marrone may be tempted to rest his starters, but “Saint Doug” isn’t inclined to give the rival Titans any favors.

Marrone has already announced that he’ll play studs like Blake Bortles, Leonard Fournette, and Jalen Ramsey until the outcome is decided, declaring the Jags “all in” for the game.

Even so, the linemakers aren’t quite buying it. Bovada has Jacksonville as 3.5-point road underdogs, but that number may also reflect the Titans’ 37-16 shellacking of the Jaguars back in Week 2.

Should the Titans stumble, leaving the AFC’s sixth seed up for grabs, either the Los Angeles Chargers (8-7) or Buffalo Bills (8-7) can take their place.

The Chargers host the Oakland Raiders (6-9), and thus have the edge over the Bills, who travel to South Beach for a date with the Miami Dolphins (6-9). But the playoff path is smoother for Buffalo backers, as the Bills only need a win combined with a Ravens loss (among other permutations) to stamp a postseason ticket. In addition to winning, the Chargers need at least two other results to swing their way.

Thankfully, the NFL schedulers ensured all connected games take place at the same time this year, so both teams will be leaving it all on the field. Los Angeles has been installed as big 8-point home favorites, while Buffalo is favored by only 3 points on the road.

The Seattle Seahawks (9-6) are the only team lurking outside the NFC playoff picture, and to break through, they’ll need to beat the Arizona Cardinals (7-8). A win alone won’t cut it though, as the Seahawks also needs the Falcons to fall against the Panthers.

In last week’s faux playoff victory over the Dallas Cowboys (8-7), Seattle made history by winning despite putting up more penalty yards (142) than yards on offense (136). That’s the second consecutive sub 150-yard game for Russell Wilson and crew, but they still get the benefit of the doubt at home as big time 9.5-point favorites.


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NFL Odds 2017: Week 16 Betting Preview

NFL Odds 2017: Week 16 Betting Preview

Just two weeks remain in the NFL regular season, offering each of the 17 teams still in postseason contention a pair of chances to solidify their standing.

The action gets underway this Saturday with a doubleheader brimming with playoff implications.

The season is already lost for the Indianapolis Colts (3-11), but the Baltimore Ravens (8-6) will play host with an AFC Wild Card berth close at hand. The Ravens are tied with two other teams at the moment, and with home dates against the downtrodden Colts and Cincinnati Bengals (5-9) on the docket, they have a leg up on the field.

It all begins with a victory on Saturday though, and Baltimore should have little trouble in that regard, as online sportsbook Bovada has them as huge 14-point favorites.

The Saturday nightcap pits the surging Minnesota Vikings (11-3) against the Green Bay Packers (7-7), as the Vikes hope to make a push for the NFC’s top seed.

Last week’s dominant win over the Bengals allowed the Vikings to clinch their second NFC North title in three seasons. The Packers were division champs last year, and would’ve competed for the crown again if not for quarterback Aaron Rodgers going down mid-season with a broken collarbone.

Rodgers made a comeback attempt last week in a losing effort, but with their playoff aspirations dashed, Green Bay shut the signal-caller down for good with the ferocious Minnesota defense coming to Lambeau Field.

The oddsmakers waited on Rodgers’ status before posting their opening line on this one, and thus far the consensus lean has the Vikings as 9-point road favorites.

The Los Angeles Rams (10-4) exorcised their demons last week, storming out to a 34-0 halftime lead over the Seattle Seahawks (8-6) while silencing the “12th Man” at CenturyLink Field. With the proverbial torch now passed, the new-look Rams can lay claim to their first NFC West title in 16 seasons by beating the Tennessee Titans (8-6) on the road this Sunday.

Two weeks ago, the Titans were 8-4, and seemingly assured of reaching the postseason dance for the first time since 2008. Consecutive road losses to NFC West doormats in the Arizona Cardinals (6-8) and San Francisco 49ers (4-10) have dimmed Tennessee’s chances somewhat, but the Titans are still tied for a Wild Card spot.

Another loss to an NFC West foe would certainly end Tennessee’s playoff hopes, and Bovada has that as a likelihood, with the Rams installed as full 7-point road favorites.

The Buffalo Bills (8-6) are the third team tied for an AFC Wild Card berth, joining the Ravens and Titans. And technically, the Bills hold the sixth seed thanks to tiebreakers – but only for the time being.

Buffalo heads to Gillette Stadium where the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (11-3) lie in wait.

The Bills are only three weeks removed from a 23-3 beatdown, on home turf no less, at the hands of the Patriots. Heading into the lion’s den doesn’t bode well for Buffalo, but interestingly enough, the Bills have experienced success at Gillette. They shut the Pats out 16-0 last year, and won a 17-9 slugfest in 2014, so an upset win on Sunday isn’t out of the question.

It’ll have to be a double-digit upset though, as the opening line of New England (-10) was quickly bet up to a 13-point advantage.

If the playoffs began today, the NFC South would be sending three representatives to the tournament: the division-leading New Orleans Saints (10-4), the fifth-seeded Carolina Panthers (10-4), and the sixth-seeded Atlanta Falcons (9-5).

That order could change dramatically, however, with the Saints hosting the Falcons in a pivotal game this Sunday.

A win for New Orleans would all but wrap the division up, as they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Carolina. As for Atlanta, any chance the Falcons have to avenge last year’s brutal Super Bowl choke job is contingent on winning out – what with the Detroit Lions (8-6), Dallas Cowboys (8-6), and Seahawks all lurking one game out.

Divisional intrigue and two high-powered offenses should make for a good show, but the Saints hold a sizable edge (read: The Superdome) as 5.5-point favorites.


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Sports Balance 2017: 7 days 7 Paying Look

Sports Balance 2017: 7 days 7 Paying Look

At this point in the season, the NFL’s top teams are jockeying for playoff position and preparing to make a run at the Lombardi Trophy.

And as luck would have it, the Week 13 schedule offers a postseason preview of sorts – as five high-profile games pit winning teams against one another.

To kick off the early slate of games, the Atlanta Falcons (7-4) host the Minnesota Vikings (9-2) in a battle of well-balanced teams.

Atlanta currently sports the 11th-ranked scoring offense at 24.1 points per game, and while that’s down from last season’s high-octane performance, the Falcons are benefiting from the 13th-ranked defense (20.9 points per game).

Minnesota is enjoying similar symmetry, with the 8th-ranked scoring offense (24.6) and the 5th-ranked defense (17.7). The surprising rise of career backup Case Keenum to the realm of elite quarterbacks has been the story, but as usual, head coach Mike Zimmer has the defense playing with passion.

The Vikes have won seven straight games, and even better for bettors, they’ve covered six straight against the spread.

An eighth straight victory is guaranteed to extend the covering streak too, as the latest lines posted by online sportsbook Bovada have Minnesota as 3-point road underdogs.

Next up, the Buffalo Bills (6-5) host the New England Patriots (9-2) in an AFC East “rivalry” that’s been anything but since Bill Belichick arrived in Foxboro. Since his tenure began in 2000, Belichick has simply dominated the Bills, to the tune of a 29-5 overall record.

That includes a five-game winning streak in Buffalo, during which time the Pats offense has averaged 38.6 points per game.

The Bills are 4-1 at home this year, but those victories came against low-powered offenses like the Jets, Broncos, Buccaneers, and Raiders. In their only home loss thus far, Buffalo was bombarded by the Saints in a 47-10 rout, which doesn’t bode well for the Bills as another top-tier offense comes to town.

Accordingly, the Bills find themselves as big-time 9-point home dogs here, even as they find themselves in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race.

Speaking of that race, the Bills are tied with the Baltimore Ravens (6-5) in the standings, but that could change quickly based on their history against New England. And if the Bills do wind up at .500 by week’s end, the Ravens could take a firm grip on a postseason bid by beating the Detroit Lions (6-5).

This one’s going down in Baltimore, where the Ravens just dismissed the Houston Texans (4-7) in a 23-16 defensive slugfest on Monday Night Football. That’s been par for the course for the Ravens, who are surrendering just under 10 points per contest during a 3-1 jag.

Detroit is also 3-1 over its last four games, but the Lions were slain by the Vikings on Thanksgiving Day in their last outing.

That means Detroit is fresh from a proverbial “mini-bye” with nine days of rest in between games, while Baltimore must cope with a short six-day week.

Even so, the consensus line has the Lions as 3-point road dogs despite the disparity in downtime.

The New Orleans Saints (8-3) host the Carolina Panthers in an afternoon affair, and the winner immediately takes the inside track towards an NFC South title.

That’s a shock to most pigskin pundits, given the Saints and Panthers finished last season at 7-9 and 6-10, respectively.

Both teams have used the ground game to get ahead, with New Orleans ranked third overall at 142.1 rushing yards per game, and Carolina close behind in fifth (129.2). But with quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Cam Newton under center, the potential for aerial attacks is always there – which goes a long way in explaining these rivals’ shared success this season.

With the raucous Superdome crowd on their side, the Saints are tabbed as 4.5-point favorites at Bovada.

To cap off the Sunday fun, the Seattle Seahawks (7-4) host the Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) in a game that very well may have implications on eventual NFC playoff seeding.

Obviously, the Eagles have the East locked down, but the Seahawks have been battered by injuries and currently sit in seventh place in the conference standings.

With the Legion of Boom broken up by major injuries to Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, the Eagles have the 6-point edge here, even heading into CenturyLink Field’s infamously hostile conditions.


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College Football Odds 2017: Week 13 Betting Preview

College Football Odds 2017: Week 13 Betting Preview

With the arrival of rivalry week, the college football season officially enters its endgame.

Intrastate showdowns to settle old scores, clashes between conference leaders, and tough tests for the Associated Press (AP) Top-25 teams await.

The rivalry week festivities this Saturday start with top-ranked Alabama (11-0) visiting sixth-ranked Auburn (9-2) in the 82nd edition of the Iron Bowl.

The latest release of the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings puts the Crimson Tide on top, while the Tigers are lurking just outside the final four in the sixth spot. Since losing to LSU (8-3) five weeks ago, Auburn has scored 40 points or more in four straight blowout wins – including a 42-27 shocker over then second-ranked Georgia (10-1).

As for Alabama, the juggernaut rolls on for head coach Nick Saban, whose team has only been tested a single time all year. The Tide needed two fourth-quarter touchdowns to score a comeback win over 16th-ranked Mississippi State (8-3) two weeks ago, but aside from that near stumble, Alabama has ridden high scores and stingy defense to a spotless record.

It’s the last regular season game for both teams, and for the victor, a date with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game awaits.

Per the latest odds posted by online sportsbook Bovada, Alabama enters the Iron Bowl as 5-point road favorites.

Elsewhere, third-ranked Oklahoma (10-1) will be in action Saturday hosting West Virginia (7-4), as the Sooners cling to the fourth and final CFP postseason bid.

The Sooners’ only loss on the season came against Iowa State, but during Oklahoma’s current six-game win streak, they’ve beaten a pair of ranked teams in then 11th-ranked Oklahoma State and then sixth-ranked TCU (9-2).

The Mountaineers are an enigma, with a 28-14 loss to Texas last week representing their only defeat against an unranked opponent all year. West Virginia has gone 2-3 against the AP Top-25 this year, getting blasted 50-39 by then 11th-ranked Oklahoma State (8-3) one week, before showing signs of brilliance in a 20-16 win over then 15th-ranked Iowa State (7-4) the next.

One team has everything to play for, while the other is simply playing out the string. Accordingly, the heavy lean goes to Oklahoma as 23-point home favorites.

Fourth-ranked Clemson (10-1) has surprised most pigskin pundits, defending last year’s national championship despite losing star quarterback Deshaun Watson to the NFL. The Tigers are third in the most recent CFP rankings, but with a showdown with CFP No. 2 Miami looming next weekend, Clemson can’t afford to look past this Saturday’s road clash with South Carolina.

Fortunately for them, the Gamecocks represent the bitterest of rivals in the 115th meeting of the Palmetto State’s two top teams.

It could be a trap game for most teams, but with a national title to defend, Clemson is tabbed as 14-point favorites even on the road.

Fifth-ranked Wisconsin (11-0) hasn’t lost a game all year, but the Badgers are still boxed out of the CFP rankings at the moment. Last week’s win over then 24th-ranked Michigan (8-3) would’ve been enough to lift Wisconsin into a playoff spot in most years, but a down season for the Wolverines has reduced their résumé’s influence on the rankings.

The Badgers hit the road to take on a middling Minnesota (5-6) team, but ninth-ranked Ohio State (9-2) lies in wait to close out the regular season in the Big Ten title game. A win in that high-profile matchup to cap a perfect season may be enough to get Wisconsin over the CFP hump, but they’ve got to get through Minnesota first to make that possible.

In another potential trap game, Wisconsin holds a 17-point edge as road favorites.


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NFL Odds 2017: Week 12 Thanksgiving Day Betting Preview

NFL Odds 2017: Week 12 Thanksgiving Day Betting Preview

It’s finally turkey time, and as families across America break bread on Thanksgiving Day, the NFL offers three reasons to be grateful.

To kick off Thursday’s tripleheader, the Detroit Lions (6-4) host the Minnesota Vikings (8-2) in a de facto NFC North title game.

The Vikings are riding a six-game winning streak, and over that span, the defense has allowed a stingy 16 points per game. If they can make it seven straight, Minnesota will take a commanding three-game lead over Detroit in the divisional standings – putting the Vikings on the inside track to host a playoff game. And with Super Bowl 52 held in their hometown U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings have every incentive to pursue the Philadelphia Eagles (9-1) for the NFC’s top seed.

The Lions have won three in a row, but those wins were over a Green Bay Packers (5-5) team missing Aaron Rodgers, followed by the Cleveland Browns (0-10) and Chicago Bears (3-7). When faced with legitimate competition in their prior three contests, the Lions lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2), New Orleans Saints (8-2), and Carolina Panthers (7-3).

In fact, Detroit has beaten just a single winning team all season – the Vikings, in a 14-7 slugfest in Week 4.

Appropriately enough, online sportsbook Bovada has this one in the “too close to call” category, as the Lions are 3-point home underdogs against an elite divisional foe.

With the appetizer out of the way, the main course for Thursday’s slate pits a pair of enigmas against one another in a season-saving showdown.

The Dallas Cowboys (5-5) host the Los Angeles Chargers (4-6), and whichever team comes up short will likely see their postseason chances evaporate in kind.

Two weeks ago, Dallas was 5-3 and appeared likely to secure yet another playoff bid – but the reinstated suspension of running back Ezekiel Elliott threw a wrench in those plans. But while veteran Alfred Morris has backed Elliott up admirably – rushing for a gaudy 6.2 yards per carry average to 4.1 per for Elliott – it was the sudden loss of left tackle Tyron Smith that really derailed Dallas’ season.

Since losing Smith to injury two weeks ago, the Cowboys have scored just 16 points total in two blowout losses, falling to the Atlanta Falcons (6-4) and the Eagles. Smith “expects” to play on Thanksgiving, but even if he goes, Dallas is also down a defensive captain in linebacker Sean Lee.

As for the Chargers, starting 0-4 seemed to leave the team for dead, but a 4-2 run since then has inspired a bit of hope in La La Land. And last Sunday’s 54-24 romp over the Buffalo Bills (5-5) certainly lends L.A. a sense of momentum heading into the short week.

This one opened with Dallas as 4-point home favorites, but being destroyed 37-9 by the Eagles on Sunday Night Football didn’t help the Cowboys’ cause in the eyes of linemakers. Throw in the Chargers’ own blowout win, and the line has shifted all the way to a pure pick’em.

To close out the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day trifecta, the Washington Redskins (4-6) host the New York Giants (2-8) in a clash of NFC East also-rans.

Despite the subpar record, the Redskins can hang their hat on the fact that they’ve competed against by far the toughest schedule in the league. Washington’s six losses have come against the division-leading Eagles (twice), the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs (6-4), the Cowboys with Elliott at running back and a full roster, the NFC North-leading Vikings, and the NFC South-leading Saints.

Last week’s loss against New Orleans was especially painful, as Washington somehow squandered a 31-16 lead with under six minutes left to fall 34-31 in overtime.

If the Redskins are to rebound from such an excruciating defeat, a home date against the hapless Giants may be just the ticket.

New York was a trendy Super Bowl pick in the preseason, before dropping five straight to sink their season before it ever really began. The loss of wideout Odell Beckham Jr. has garnered the headlines, but the Giants’ roster has been decimated by offseason mismanagement and in-season injuries.

A 12-9 overtime win last Sunday over the reeling Chiefs provided some solace, but the Giants are still big 7.5-point underdogs on the road.


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NFL Odds 2017: Week 7 Betting Preview

NFL Odds 2017: Week 7 Betting Preview

Underdogs continued to exceed expectations in Week 6 of the NFL season, going 11-3 against the spread in a Sunday highlighted by two double-digit dogs winning outright.

After opening as 11.5-point road underdogs at online sportsbook Bovada, the Miami Dolphins (3-2) found themselves in a 17-0 halftime hole against the Atlanta Falcons – but their defense pitched a shutout in the second half to secure a 20-17 win.

On Monday Night Football, another 11.5-point road favorite shocked the football world, when the injury-ravaged New York Giants (1-5) dominated the Denver Broncos (3-2) in a 23-10 slugfest.

Week 7 won’t offer a single upset of similar scope.

Of the 15 games on the docket this week, oddsmakers have capped all of them with a spread between 1.5 and 6 points – so bettors have their hands full deciding between all those close contests.

The showcase game for Week 7 is surely the Sunday Night Football showdown between the Atlanta Falcons (3-2) and the New England Patriots (4-2). This long-awaited rematch from last February’s epic Super Bowl 51 is eight months in the making.

For the Falcons, the game represents a golden chance to redeem themselves. But in the wake of their historic Super Bowl collapse – which saw Atlanta surrender a 28-3 third-quarter lead to lose the Lombardi Trophy – the ghosts may still be lingering.

Atlanta stormed out of the gates last week against Miami, at home no less, only to sputter in the second half en route to a second straight loss when holding a late lead.

As for the defending champions, New England struggled against the surprisingly competent New York Jets (3-3), falling behind 14-0 before narrowly escaping with a 24-17 victory. The game continued a startling pattern of substandard play from the Pats, who have surrendered 26.5 points per game (30th in NFL).

This one’s as close as it gets on paper, and given the grudge match implications, Bovada set a standard 3-point advantage for the Patriots owing to home-field advantage.

What may have been a contender for “Game of the Week” status has been relegated to the undercard, thanks in large part to Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone.

Playing on the road against the Minnesota Vikings (4-2), the catastrophic injury to their star quarterback doomed the Green Bay Packers (4-2) to a dismal loss.

The Pack hosts the New Orleans Saints (3-2) this week, and after last week’s 52-point explosion by Drew Brees (with a little help from the Saints defense), a meeting with Rodgers may have threatened the 90-point plateau.

Instead, backup QB Brett Hundley takes the reins from Rodgers, which is why Green Bay is a 6-point home underdog for the first time in memory.

Most teams use their bye week for rest and recuperation, looking to keep the drama to a minimum – but the Dallas Cowboys (2-3) aren’t most teams. While the rest of the roster enjoyed their R&R, standout running back Ezekiel Elliott made headlines once again, when a federal court allowed his six-game suspension to proceed.

Dallas visits the San Francisco 49ers (0-6), however, a team well removed from its glory days in the 1990s – or even the recent renaissance of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure. Even without Elliott toting the rock, quarterback Dak Prescott, wideout Dez Bryant, and sack-master Demarcus Lawrence should be enough to fend off an inferior 49ers roster.

The line on this one opened with Dallas as 4-point road favorites, but that was quickly bet up to the current 6-point edge.

While the Cowboys look to reach the .500 mark, the NFC East race intensifies on Monday Night Football.

The division-leading Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) host the second-place Washington Redskins (3-2), and an Eagles win would put them a full two games up in the East standings.

Excelling in his second year, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is generating MVP buzz, but he’ll be tested against a stingy Redskins defense that gives up just 228.0 passing yards per game.

With home field on their side, the Eagles are listed as 4.5-point favorites to take a firm grip on their divisional destiny.


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College Football Odds 2017: Week 8 Betting Preview

College Football Odds 2017: Week 8 Betting Preview

If college football fans thought Week 7 was wacky – what with highly ranked Oklahoma (5-1) and Michigan (5-1) falling in massive upsets – last Saturday was something else altogether.

The upsets began in earnest when defending national champion and then second-ranked Clemson (6-1) fell to unranked Syracuse (4-3) in a 27-24 instant classic.

Next up, then eighth-ranked Washington State (6-1) was demolished in a 37-rout to unranked California (4-3).

To finish things off, then fifth-ranked Washington (6-1) couldn’t get anything going as 17.5-point favorites, losing a 14-7 wrestling match against unranked Arizona State (3-3).

And just like that, the Associated Press (AP) Top-10 rankings were shaken and shuffled – giving a new group of teams hope for a potential College Football Playoff run.

Looking ahead to this Saturday, top-ranked Alabama (7-0) should have little trouble dodging the upset bug. The Tide aren’t messing around this season, dispatching SEC “rival” Arkansas (2-4) by the score of 41-9 last week – and covering the 31-point opening spread to boot.

This Saturday they’ll host another SEC also-ran in Tennessee (3-3), and online sportsbook Bovada has Alabama as enormous 36.5-point favorites.

Sitting idle on its bye week, now second-ranked Penn State (6-0) benefited immensely from Clemson’s stumble to move up a spot in the AP rankings. But the Nittany Lions have beaten up on six unranked teams so far, and that all changes this week when 19th-ranked Michigan (5-1) comes to College Station.

In what many expect to be the game of the year thus far, and one which will go a long way in deciding the Big Ten champion, the Wolverines are pegged as 9.5-point road underdogs.

Third-ranked Georgia (7-0) takes the week off, while fourth-ranked TCU (6-0) takes on a woefully outmatched Kansas (1-5) team at home. The Jayhawks are allowing an abysmal 44.8 points per game, which doesn’t bode well given the Horned Frogs’ propensity for scoring points in bunches (41.3 points per game).

This primetime matchup boasts one of the biggest spreads of the season, with the Horned Frogs favored by an astounding 39 points.

Fifth-ranked Wisconsin (6-0) hosts an uninspiring Maryland (3-3) squad as 24.5-point favorites, but bettors may be wary of that line after last week.

The Badgers scored just three points over the final three quarters last week in a 17-9 defeat of Purdue (3-3), but while the offense may be struggling, Wisconsin did hold a team to 10 points or fewer for the third time this year.

Sixth-ranked Ohio State (6-1) and now seventh-ranked Clemson both have their bye weeks – and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Tigers.

The team that knocked them off gets right back to it though, as Syracuse visits eighth-ranked Miami (5-0).

Fittingly enough, the Hurricanes had one game cancelled and another postponed due to Hurricane Irma, hence their 5-0 record. But those logistical issues haven’t affected Miami’s on-field performance, and they’ve steadily climbed the AP rankings all year. Miami will enjoy a 17-point advantage as road favorites in this one.

Ninth-ranked Oklahoma (5-1) and 10th-ranked Oklahoma State (5-1) are sticking close, and they’ll both hit the road to battle Kansas State (3-3) and Texas (3-3), respectively. The Sooners are 14-point favorites over the Wildcats, while the Cowboys are only 7-point favorites against the Longhorns.

Eleventh-ranked USC (6-1) travels to South Bend for a date with 13th-ranked Notre Dame (5-1), renewing one of the best rivalries in college football. Both teams count an early loss to a ranked opponent as their only blemishes on the year, so this game should live up to its billing.

The books certainly think so, as Notre Dame has been installed as slight 3.5-point favorites – and with the Fighting Irish enjoying home field advantage, that line essentially makes this one a pick’em.


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