NFL Playoffs 2018: Vegas Odds, Top Fantasy Picks for Sunday Divisional Games

NFL Playoffs 2018: Vegas Odds, Top Fantasy Picks for Sunday Divisional Games

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The NFL‘s divisional round hasn’t done bettors wrong.

We won’t call it predictable because the Nick Foles-led Philadelphia Eagles taking down the Atlanta Falcons in 15-10 fashion registered as a slight upset. But only by the numbers from oddsmakers—bettors knew the Eagles had assembled likely the best roster in football and that the Falcons winning on the road in the cold was a tall order.

The New England Patriots blowing past the Tennessee Titans 35-14 was the easiest call of the playoffs.

Bettors don’t have it as easy Sunday, when two games with revenge storylines headlining the action call for close affairs wherein either team could end up on top.

Riskier is fun, though, right? And for those looking at the matchups from a fantasy angle, we will look at the top fantasy picks for DFS lineups for good measure.

               

Divisional-Round Weekend

Game: Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers

Date and Time: Sunday, January 14, at 1:05 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Odds: Pittsburgh (-7.5) O/U 41

Prediction: Steelers 24, Jaguars 20

           

Game: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings

Date and Time: Sunday, January 14, at 4:40 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Odds: Minnesota (-4) O/U 45.5

Prediction: Vikings 23, Saints 21

         

Top Fantasy Picks

Quarterbacks

1. Case Keenum, Vikings
2. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
3. Drew Brees, Saints
4. Blake Bortles, Jaguars

         

Running Backs

1. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers
2. Alvin Kamara, Saints 
3. Leonard Fournette, Jaguars
4. Mark Ingram, Saints
5. Latavius Murray, Vikings

           

Wide Receivers

1. Antonio Brown, Steelers
2. Michael Thomas, Saints
3. Adam Thielen, Vikings
4. Stefon Diggs, Vikings
5. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers
6. Ted Ginn, Saints
7. Dede Westbrook, Jaguars

                   

Tight Ends

1. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
2. Vance McDonald, Steelers
3. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
4. Jesse James, Steelers

             

Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers

The theme around this one seems to be how each team has changed since they met back in Week 5.

Said theme doesn’t bode well for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Week 5 contest saw the Jaguars blow past the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-9, with Blake Bortles only attempting 14 passes with an interception while his elite defense picked off Ben Roethlisberger five times.

"We’ve evolved since then," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, according to Stats LLC (via ESPN.com). "They have evolved a lot since then. [The first game] is a good physical reference in terms of the matchups. … I am sure that they are as different as we are since the last time we’ve seen them."

The Steelers have lost one game since then, a three-point defeat at the hands of the red-hot Patriots. They have watched Big Ben’s passing attack (28 touchdowns, 14 interceptions) come to life and running back Le’Veon Bell round into form on 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns.

On paper, the Jaguars sound great. A whopping 55 sacks, 21 interceptions and only coughing up 16.8 points per game will turn some heads. But bettors shouldn’t read too much into the numbers considering the team lost two in a row to close the regular season and had a cupcake of a matchup against the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the playoffs, a 10-3 dud.

Big Ben has thrown just one other multi-interception game this season, and Bell has rushed for four touchdowns over his past three games. While both teams have changed since the odd blowout earlier in the season, it’s hard to ignore the fact it’s the home team riding the strong wave.

Pittsburgh’s tandem will force Bortles to the air on the road, which is a detail that hasn’t changed after all this time.

Prediction: Steelers 24, Jaguars 20

             

New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings

There isn’t as much change to talk about between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings took down the New Orleans Saints 29-19 in Week 1 while getting a trio of touchdown passes from Sam Bradford. On the road, Drew Brees only threw one score, struggling against one of the league’s best defenses.

But most knew the Saints would get on track after starting the season 0-2 after a brutal Minnesota-New England start. Since then, they have ripped off 11 wins, including takedowns of the Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons.

Brees has 4,334 yards and 23 touchdowns on a completion percentage of a smooth 72 percent, in large part because Mark Ingram ran for 1,124 yards and 12 scores and Alvin Kamara burst on to the scene with 728 and eight, respectively.

The Vikings have done much of the same, albeit by swapping out two key offensive pieces. Kudos to the offensive staff in Minnesota, which swapped out Bradford for Case Keenum, the owner of 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions on a 67.6 completion percentage—and a can-do attitude about the biggest game of his career.

"For us, it’s just remember what got us here," Keenum said, according to ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin. "It’s the same game we’ve been playing the last time I checked and same field, same stadium, same amount of time."

The Vikings had a talented rookie runner of their own in Dalvin Cook yet still complemented the game-controlling defense with the combo of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, a tandem boasting 11 rushing scores.

For bettors, the call here isn’t as hard as it seems. Minnesota’s defense hasn’t changed all year after shuttering the Saints, and the unit is at home again. While the Vikings rested and built a game plan, the Saints struggled past the Carolina Panthers in 31-26 fashion while rushing for under two yards per carry.

Having Brees throw often to compensate would hurt most teams, but it should be clear these Vikings aren’t most teams.

Prediction: Vikings 23, Saints 21

              

Stats courtesy of NFL.com. Odds according to OddsShark.

Breaking Sports News

via Bleacher Report – Front Page http://ift.tt/yO6Sgr

January 14, 2018 at 09:12AM

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