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We are down to the final four teams, with this weekend’s winners heading to the Super Bowl. One week after three of the four home teams lost outright, all four home teams (and the top two seeds in each conference) were able to win outright this past weekend.
Those results set up a pair of high-profile matchups, including the latest chapter in the epic Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady rivalry in the early game when New England visits Denver. The online sportsbooks list the visiting Patriots as a solid three-point favorite, which appears to be somewhat of a trap line. The early action (which is usually the sharp action), has come in big on the visiting Patriots.
These teams met once in the regular season, also in Denver, with the Broncos handing New England their first loss of the season in late November. Peyton Manning did not play in that game, and the Broncos were able to overcome a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to force overtime and eventually win on a 48-yard rushing touchdown.
Short rest for the English Premier League, who just finished a round a play on Tuesday and Wednesday and now play again this weekend. In our EPL Betting Update article last week we spent some time discussing Leicester City, who has by far been the surprise team of the league thus far but had a tough matchup at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Foxes were able to pull the big upset in that match, as Robert Huth headed one in the back of the net in the 83rd minute for the game’s only goal, returning a big +415 payday at the online sportsbooks for the outright win.
Leicester for City has now pulled even with Arsenal a top the EPL table, trailing only in goal differential. Arsenal is +16 while the Foxes are +13, but are gaining confidence every week and Wednesday’s big victory can only boost momentum going into this weekend.
We are just past the halfway mark of the EPL Season, with more than a few surprises along the way. The biggest surprise has to be Leicester City, who is just two points behind Arsenal at the top of the tables 20 matches in. Riding the hot foot of Jamie Vardy, who along with Everton’s Romelu Lukaku leads the league in goals scored with 15, the Foxes have lost just one match since the last weekend of August. Vardy has been named EPL Player of the Month in both October and November, with manager Claudio Ranieri taking home Manager of the Month in November also.
Despite that good play, Leicester City is a big underdog this week vs. Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham currently sits in fourth place with 36 points, but leads the EPL (along with Manchester City) in terms of goal difference at +18, and their 16 goals allowed is also the best in the league.
The online sportsbooks list the Spurs as a -150 favorite to win outright, with a draw returning +280 and an outright win by the Foxes netting a nice +415 payday. The Over/Under is 2.75 goals.
While betting bowl games against the pointspread is by far the most popular College Football betting option at this time of the season, Over/Unders are also a viable option and tends to offer more value than laying points with a favorite or taking points with an underdog.
We reviewed all the Over/Under results from the bowl games played in December, with surprising results. Over players did very well posting an 18-13 record, showing 3.7 units of profit. But we found that when the posted totals were higher, the winning percentage on those Over wagers also increased.
If the total in a December bowl game was at least 60 points, then Over players scored a huge profit on the sportsbooks. There were 15 such instances this December, with 12 of those 15 games sailing over the total. That’s an 80% winning percentage with a great +8.7 units of profit!
With three weeks left in the NFL Regular Season, only three teams have guaranteed their ticket to the postseason, and only one team has guaranteed themselves a first-round bye. But with all the uncertainly surrounding the NFL Playoffs, the sportsbooks have pegged two teams as overwhelming favorites to win their respective conferences.
The New England Patriots regained command of the AFC with a big win in Houston last weekend, and coupled with outright losses by both Denver and Cincinnati, the Patriots are now a commanding +110 favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
The two closest teams to the Patriots in terms of AFC Future Odds are Denver and Pittsburgh, who are each returning a 4:1 payout.
There are only a few weeks left in the NFL Regular Season, and there are still a number of teams that can play their way into the playoffs. Playoff positioning is also up for grabs in the next few weeks, with a number of games this weekend having big consequences on the NFL postseason. We’ll have an NFL Playoff Update article later this week, but for now we’ll break down some of the key NFL games this weekend from a betting perspective.
The Thursday game is a great matchup as 8-4 Minnesota travels to Arizona to face the Cardinals who won their tenth game of the season on Sunday. That was a big revenge spot for the Cardinals, who avenged their lone home loss of the season in a blowout win vs. St. Louis.
Arizona faces a similar type of foe this week, as like the Rams Minnesota is a rush-heavy offense without much of a passing threat. Vikings have been held to under 200 yards passing eight times this season – including a 94-yard passing effort last week in a blowout loss vs. Seattle. This top online sportsbook looks for Arizona to win big again, listing the host as a big 7.5-point favorite.
While there are only two games on this weekend’s NFL schedule featuring a pair of team with winning records, this is a very important week for some of the NFL Playoff contenders to break out of slumps and start building momentum towards a postseason run.
Green Bay is in a huge revenge spot this Thursday in Detroit after the Lions pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the entire NFL season when they won outright in Lambeau Field a few weeks ago. Detroit was a big 11.5-point road underdog in that matchup and came through with an 18-16 victory. That win propelled the Lions to a current three-game winning streak heading into this Thursday matchup.
While the Lions are gaining momentum, Green Bay is looking for confidence. After a perfect 6-0 start to the season, the Packers have since lost four of their last five games, with all four losses coming in the role of the favorite.
This is always one of the biggest football weekends of the year, with games played throughout the day both on Friday and Saturday. Friday has two games with major CFP implications with #4 Iowa taking on Nebraska as well as the big Baylor vs. TCU matchup in the Big 12.
Iowa cracked the Top Four of the latest CFP Rankings and face one of their toughest challenges of the season this Friday. This online sportsbook list the Hawkeyes as a slim 1.5-point favorite despite Iowa coming into this game with an unbeaten 11-0 record.
Perhaps this line reflects the urgency of Nebraska to win this game, needing one more victory to become bowl eligible. Hawkeyes have covered the spread in 12 of their last 14 road games overall, and we can’t imagine more motivation than playing for a spot in the College Football playoffs.