Updated Futures Betting Odds for the 2018 Stanley Cup

Updated Futures Betting Odds for the 2018 Stanley Cup

Back in October, when online sportsbook Bovada released its opening odds for 2018 Stanley Cup futures betting, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights couldn’t be further apart.

The Lightning, led by sniper Steven Stamkos, were listed among the NHL’s top contenders at (+1200). Meanwhile, entering their first season as an expansion franchise, the Golden Knights came in dead last at (+20000).

Today, the latest odds update puts the league-leading Lightning (46-17-4; 96 points) at the head of the pack with a (+550) price. But with the playoffs fast approaching, a Golden Knights (42-19-5; 87 points) team that has stunned the sporting world all season sits at (+600) to hoist the Cup.

Assembled largely from castoffs discarded by other teams in the expansion draft – as well as deft maneuvering in free agency by general manager George McPhee – a Vegas team expected to compete for draft position is primed for a playoff run.

Leading goal scorer William Karlsson has potted 35 thus far, while David Perron paces the team in assists with 44 helpers. And with three-time Cup winning goalie Marc-Andre Fleury looking like his old self in the crease, the Golden Knights have built a comfortable nine-point lead in the Pacific.

As for the Lightning, the return of Stamkos after last year’s season-ending injury has certainly been a spark – but the offensive load has been shouldered by NHL points leader Nikita Kucherov (33-53-86). Add in the goaltending exploits of Andrei Vasilevskiy, the league-leader with 39 wins, and Tampa Bay appears poised to capture the Presidents’ Trophy, if not the Cup.

Their closest competitor on the Bovada betting board is the Nashville Predators (43-14-9; 95 points), who actually have identical odds at (+550) after opening the year at (+1400). After last year’s “Smashville” squad fell to Pittsburgh in a six-game Stanley Cup final, pundits may have expected a hangover effect, but the Preds have already eclipsed last year’s point total with over a dozen games to go.

The Boston Bruins (41-15-8; 90 points) are next up at (+800), and while they trail the Lightning by six points in the Atlantic, three games in hand essentially puts them in a dead heat. Searching for their seventh Stanley Cup in franchise history, the Bruins have steadily climbed the betting board since opening the season at (+1800).

At (+850), the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins (38-25-4; 80 points) close out the list of contenders offering better than 10 to 1. They haven’t moved much from an opening line of (+850), and while it hasn’t been a perfect season for the Pens, elite scorers like Sidney Crosby (22-48-70) and Evgeni Malkin (37-45-82) are more than enough to mask this dynasty’s deficiencies.

On the other side of the spectrum, the Chicago Blackhawks (29-30-8; 66 points) and New York Rangers (30-31-6; 66 points) are by far the league’s biggest disappointments.

The Blueshirts and Hawks opened the year at (+1400) and (+1600), respectively, but their last place performances have seen them plummet to “off the board” status.

See below for all the info on the 23 teams still vying for the most coveted trophy in all of sports, as currently listed on Bovada:

2018 NHL Stanley Cup Odds on Bovada

Team Stanley Cup Odds on 3/7
Tampa Bay Lightning +550
Nashville Predators +550
Vegas Golden Knights +600
Boston Bruins +800
Pittsburgh Penguins +850
Winnipeg Jets +1000
Toronto Maple Leafs +1500
Washington Capitals +1600
Anaheim Ducks +2000
Philadelphia Flyers +2000
Dallas Stars +2200
Los Angeles Kings +2200
Minnesota Wild +2500
San Jose Sharks +2500
St. Louis Blues +3500
Calgary Flames +5000
New Jersey Devils +5000
Columbus Blue Jackets +5000
Colorado Avalanche +5000
Florida Panthers +5000
Carolina Hurricanes +6600
New York Islanders +10000
Detroit Red Wings +30000



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Updated Futures Betting Odds for the 2018 NBA Championship

Updated Futures Betting Odds for the 2018 NBA Championship

For three years and counting the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers have formed a two-team race atop the NBA Championship futures betting market.

That pattern held at the beginning of the 2018 season, when the defending champion Dubs (+100) and runner-up Cavs (+500) opened as the clear favorites to face off in their fourth consecutive NBA Finals. And while the regular season has been relegated to a glorified scrimmage in years past, the current campaign’s unpredictable nature has upended the odds – if only slightly.

With the NBA taking the week off for All-Star Game festivities, online sportsbook Bovada still has Golden State (-175) as the overwhelming favorite to win their third ring in four years. But in a refreshing change of pace, a fellow Western Conference juggernaut in the Houston Rockets (+400) offers the next best odds to win it all.

The most recent edition of the Warriors has ridden its core four – Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green – to a 44-14 record and a +8.1 point differential. Both are second-best, however, as the high-octane Rockets have seamlessly integrated Chris Paul into head coach Mike D’Antoni’s run and gun offense. Houston sits atop the West by a half-game at 44-13, and their +8.7 point differential is the best in all of basketball.

As for Cleveland (+600), the team’s odds to win a title may not have changed all that much, but the roster itself is almost completely different nowadays. Following the trade of Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs experienced a few months of upheaval and ugly basketball. The team suffered through multiple losing streaks, while enduring a war of words in the locker room, and even in the media.

An ambitious trade deadline plan spearheaded by LeBron James saw former sidekick Dwyane Wade shipped out, along with a disgruntled Thomas, and bench pieces like Channing Frye, Derrick Rose, and Jae Crowder. The new-look Cleveland squad – which now includes newly added role players George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., and Jordan Clarkson – proceeded to win three straight games over playoff contenders, and on the road no less.

Today, the Cavs sit at 34-22, but their barely perceptible point differential of just +0.2 puts them in line with the New Orleans Pelicans rather than the league’s elite.

Cleveland’s post-trade winning jag included an impressive win over the Boston Celtics (+1200), the next team on the Bovada title odds totem pole. Boston has overcome the opening night loss of Gordon Hayward to the tune of a 40-19 record, with Irving providing emphatic proof of his ability to be a top team’s number one option.

Next up on the betting board is the Toronto Raptors (+1600), a team that finally seems to have put it all together after a few years as a fringe contender. In fact, the Raps lead the East with a 41-16 record, and they hit the break riding a seven-game win streak. And at +8.5, the Raptors are the only team aside from the Warriors and Rockets with a point differential higher than +3.5 – showing they can score in bunches with the game’s best.

The Oklahoma City Thunder (+2000) and San Antonio Spurs (+3300) are the only other teams offering better than 66 to 1, so the league is still as stratified as ever.

As of now, 10 teams have been stricken from the board altogether – the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, L.A. Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, and Orlando Magic.

See below for all the info on the 20 remaining contenders for the NBA title, as currently listed on Bovada:

2018 NBA Title Odds on Bovada

Team NBA Championship Odds on 2/19
Golden State Warriors -175
Houston Rockets +400
Cleveland Cavaliers +600
Boston Celtics +1200
Toronto Raptors +1600
Oklahoma City Thunder +2000
San Antonio Spurs +3300
Minnesota Timberwolves +6600
Washington Wizards +6600
Milwaukee Bucks +6600
Philadelphia 76ers +7500
Miami Heat +15000
Detroit Pistons +15000
Indiana Pacers +20000
Utah Jazz +25000
Denver Nuggets +25000
Portland Trail Blazers +30000
Los Angeles Clippers +50000
New Orleans Pelicans +50000
Charlotte Hornets +50000



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Futures Betting Odds to Win the 2018 World Series

Futures Betting Odds to Win the 2018 World Series

Hot Stove season may be suffering from a cold front when it comes to free agent signings, but with Spring Training just two weeks away, baseball fans are awakening from their annual slumber.

Pitchers and catchers report to their respective clubhouses in a few days, signaling the official start to baseball’s preseason. Before they do, bettors can get in early on the latest World Series odds offered by online sportsbook Bovada.

After coming up on the short end of last year’s epic seven-game series, the Los Angeles Dodgers (+500) will enter the 2018 campaign as narrow favorites. The boys in blue will be bringing back largely the same roster as last year, and given that roster’s historic 43-7 run between June and August, making L.A. the favorite in the National League certainly makes sense.

But with top flight starting pitcher Yu Darvish as yet unsigned, the Dodgers’ star-studded staff could be down a big arm going into a heated N.L. West race.

And that same Dodgers squad did lose 16 of 17 games before the playoffs began to cool off considerably, so bettors looking to fade L.A. can be forgiven – especially when a potential World Series hangover is added to the equation.

As for the victors in that unforgettable seven-game duel, the Houston Astros (+550) are favored to represent the American League in the Fall Classic once again.

Having finally secured the first World Series title in the franchise’s 55-year history, general manager Jeff Luhnow isn’t resting on his laurels. He followed last year’s decisive signing of ace Justin Verlander – who sparkled throughout the team’s dream postseason run – by trading for Gerrit Cole, a 27-year old starter and former All-Star.

That move wasn’t the splashiest of the offseason, however, as the New York Yankees (+550) pulled off their usual coup de grace by signing slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Paired with Mike Judge, the Bronx Bombers now have the only two hitters to hammer 50 home runs last season in the middle of their lineup.

The only other teams offering better than 10 to 1 against winning it all are the Cleveland Indians (+800) and Washington Nationals (+800). Both managed to make the Divisional Round in last year’s playoff dance, before seeing their year end in disappointing fashion.

Two more also-rans from the previous postseason come in at 15 to 1 or better – the Chicago Cubs (+1000) and Boston Red Sox (+1200). This duo is also linked in another way, as the Cubs have former ace Jake Arrieta still unsigned, while the Red Sox are banking on free agent masher J.D. Martinez blinking first in their contract discussions.

But if “Just Dingers” – who slammed 45 longballs in only 119 games, including 28 after a midseason trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks – rejects the Red Sox’ hardball offer, expect Boston’s title odds to drop as a result.

Conversely, if Martinez decides to stay in the desert, the D-Backs (+2500) would surely see their odds narrow with a 3-4-5 of Paul Goldschmidt, Martinez, and Jake Lamb.

Bettors looking to hit a bullseye with their futures bullets would be wise to consider teams near the (+1400) level, as both the Dodgers and Astros enjoyed those odds ahead of the 2017 season.

The full table of 2018 World Series odds currently offered by Bovada is shown below:

2018 World Series Odds on Bovada

Team World Series Odds on 2/8/18
Los Angeles Dodgers +500
Houston Astros +550
New York Yankees +550
Cleveland Indians +800
Washington Nationals +800
Chicago Cubs +1000
Boston Red Sox +1200
San Francisco Giants +1800
St. Louis Cardinals +2000
Arizona Diamondbacks +2500
Los Angeles Angels +2800
New York Mets +2800
Minnesota Twins +3300
Milwaukee Brewers +4000
Seattle Mariners +4000
Toronto Blue Jays +5000
Colorado Rockies +5000
Tampa Bay Rays +10000
Chicago White Sox +10000
Atlanta Braves +10000
Texas Rangers +10000
Baltimore Orioles +10000
Kansas City Royals +10000
Oakland Athletics +10000
Pittsburgh Pirates +10000
Philadelphia Phillies +10000
Cincinnati Reds +10000
San Diego Padres +10000
Detroit Tigers +20000
Miami Marlins +20000




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First Look at Futures Betting Odds for Super Bowl 53

First Look at Futures Betting Odds for Super Bowl 53

With the city of Philadelphia still celebrating a Super Bowl championship that was 52 years in the making, oddsmakers are already looking ahead to next year’s title tilt.

According to online sportsbook Bovada – which released its opening odds in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s supersized shootout – the Eagles are (+900) to win Super Bowl 53.

Only one team in the NFL offers better odds and that’s the New England Patriots (+400), the runners up in one of the more entertaining Super Bowls in recent memory. But with the Pats securing a Super Bowl berth in three of the last four seasons – and four out of the last seven for that matter – their placement at the top of the table certainly makes sense.

Even so, it won’t be the same Patriots juggernaut football fans have reckoned with during the Belichick/Brady dynasty. Sure, those two will be back in the fold for 2018, but defensive coordinator Matt Patricia has already been hired away as the new head coach in Detroit, while offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is widely expected to take the head coach position in Indianapolis.

Throw in star tight end Rob Gronkowski’s refusal to recommit for next year during the postgame press conference – following a pair of concussions in a single month – and shutdown corner Malcolm Butler’s inexplicable benching, and the Patriots could be a different team altogether going forward.

As for the Eagles, career backup quarterback turned Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will almost certainly be traded. With his stock at an all-time high, and starter Carson Wentz recovering well from his season-ending leg injury, the sparkplug who powered three straight postseason wins as an underdog will likely suit up for another squad next year.

Adding to the intrigue, Philadelphia is currently more than $ 9 million over the salary cap, so roster upheaval is to be expected.

Joining the Eagles as favorites to represent the NFC are the Green Bay Packers (+900), a team which will benefit immensely from the return of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Pack went 4-1 before Rodgers went down last season, notching impressive wins over the Seahawks and Cowboys before Rodgers’ season was cut short. With a full 16-game schedule to work with, there’s every reason to believe Rodgers’ return will key a renaissance in Green Bay.

From there, the betting board is dominated by NFC contenders, as nine of the top 12 teams per Bovada odds hail from the same conference.

The Minnesota Vikings, who were just one win away from hosting their own Super Bowl, are fourth-best at (+1200).

The Dallas Cowboys, a talented team that took a step back after 2016’s playoff run, could be a bargain at (+1800).

The same can be said for a trio of playoff participants from this season, as the L.A. Rams, the New Orleans Saints, and the Atlanta Falcons can also be backed at (+1800).

In the surprise department, the San Francisco 49ers moved from (+10000) in last year’s post-Super Bowl odds to (+1800) this time around. The addition of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo transformed the Niners from a 1-10 doormat into a powerhouse, with San Francisco closing the year on a five-game winning streak.

And speaking of last year’s odds, the Eagles were tabbed as (+5000) longshots this time last year. Bettors looking for a longshot at the same price have the Buccaneers, Cardinals, Giants, Lions, Titans, and Redskins to choose from.

Check below for a full lineup of all 32 teams along with their initial odds to win Super Bowl 53:

Team SB Odds on 2/5/18
New England Patriots +400
Philadelphia Eagles +900
Green Bay Packers +900
Minnesota Vikings +1200
Pittsburgh Steelers +1400
Dallas Cowboys +1800
L.A. Rams +1800
New Orleans Saints +1800
Atlanta Falcons +1800
San Francisco 49ers +1800
Carolina Panthers +2500
Houston Texans +2500
Seattle Seahawks +2500
Jacksonville Jaguars +2500
Kansas City Chiefs +2800
Denver Broncos +3300
Indianapolis Colts +3300
L.A. Chargers +3300
Oakland Raiders +3300
Baltimore Ravens +4000
Detroit Lions +5000
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +5000
Arizona Cardinals +5000
New York Giants +5000
Tennessee Titans +5000
Washington Redskins +5000
Buffalo Bills +6600
Cincinnati Bengals +6600
Miami Dolphins +6600
New York Jets +6600
Chicago Bears +7500
Cleveland Browns +10000




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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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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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