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Cincinnati Bengals acquire tight end Thaddeus Moss, a former teammate of Joe Burrow at LSU



The Cincinnati Bengals have acquired one of quarterback Joe Burrow‘s former college teammates.

Former Washington tight end Thaddeus Moss was claimed and awarded to the Bengals, the team announced Monday. Moss, who was an undrafted free agent in 2020, spent the entire season on Washington’s injured reserve list with a foot injury that was discovered at the 2020 scouting combine.

Moss and Burrow were teammates at LSU, a run that culminated with an undefeated season in 2019 and a College Football Playoff championship. In 12 games that year, Moss caught 47 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns.

Moss, the former son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, is one of five tight ends currently on the team’s roster. There’s also a chance the Bengals could add another one of Moss and Burrow’s former LSU teammates in the upcoming draft. ESPN’s Todd McShay currently has the Bengals projected to take former LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with the fifth overall pick.

“I wouldn’t mind going back with Joe,” Chase said at LSU’s Pro Day in March.

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Betting bullets – Aaron Rodgers report causes stir at sportsbooks



For the second straight offseason, bookmakers find themselves tracking the potential relocation of a marquee, odds-impacting NFL quarterback. Last year, it was Tom Brady. This year, it’s Aaron Rodgers.

Just hours ahead of the start of NFL draft on Thursday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, did not want to return to the Green Bay Packers. The bombshell report caused sportsbooks to halt betting on the Packers’ odds to win the NFC North and their season win total and adjust the Super Bowl odds on his potential landing spot.

In this week’s Betting Bullets, ESPN’s David Purdum and Doug Kezirian dive into the impact the Rodgers’ news had on the betting market, how sportsbooks fared on the NFL draft and more.


• Here were the Packers’ odds on various markets prior to the Rodgers’ news at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill:

Super Bowl: 11-1 (the third favorite, behind the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers); NFC: 5-1; NFC North: -250; Season win total: 11 (-125 under); To make playoffs: Yes -750 / No +500

• William Hill and other sportsbooks took the Packers off the board in several of the markets Thursday. The Packers’ odds on the NFC North, season win total and to make the playoffs remained down as of Sunday afternoon at William Hill.

• Since Thursday, when the Rodgers’ news broke, more bets have been placed on the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl than have been bet on any other team at William Hill sportsbooks.

The Broncos’ odds to win the Super Bowl were 60-1 prior to the Rodgers’ news and got as short as 13-1 shortly before the draft began and eventually settled at 20-1 at William Hill.

• As the Rodgers’ news was breaking Thursday, John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, said his shop took a bet on the San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC at 9-1 from a customer whose action is respected.

“We had people making some small bets on Denver [to win the Super Bowl] at 60-1,” Murray said. “We moved Denver down to 20-1 and 10-1 for the conference, and we raised up a few other teams and sort of waited from there.”

Draft notes

• Thomas Gable, sportsbook director at The Borgata, said betting handle on the draft surpassed how much is wagered on a typical regular-season NFL game, but just short of how much is bet on a playoff game.

“We were a small winner overall on the draft, which is about as good as you can hope to do on it,” Gable told ESPN. “The main positive is the draft handle continues to grow each year. In New Jersey, we have only been able to book the draft for three years now, and last year all the retail books were closed in the state due to COVID, so everything was online. But the amount of offerings has increased dramatically from what we offered in 2019.”

• The SuperBook in Las Vegas reported taking a small loss on the draft. Murray pointed to linebacker Micah Parsons out of Penn State, cornerback Caleb Farley out of Virginia Tech and running back Najee Harris out of Alabama being selected earlier than he expected were among the props that bettors did well on.

• Sportsbook PointsBet said bettors had success during the first round, including on the odds to be the No. 3 pick.

“Many of the same bettors who took Mac Jones to go No. 3 earlier in the week got out of their position [Thursday] by backing Jones’s draft position over 3.5 as [Trey] Lance to the Niners started to firm in the market,” Jay Croucher, sportsbook director for PointsBet, said. “Bettors profited from the ‘Bears to draft a quarterback’ market after Chicago traded up to get Justin Fields, and the clients who viewed Kyle Pitts as a lock to go No. 4 were also rewarded.”

• Most draft picks impacted a prop bet result. However, the most notable ones were fun to monitor. Heiman Trophy finalist Kyle Trask landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which was a 33/1 longshot at Circa Sportsbook.

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond saw his Circa prop open at 170.5 and close at 77.5. That’s a huge move and the four-year starter still cashed the under. With the 66th pick, the Minnesota Vikings drafted Kirk Cousins’ backup.

The less notable players saw significant movements. USC wide receiver Amon-ra St. Brown opened 150.5 and closed 89.5, before being taken by the Detroit Lions with the 112th pick.

Offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz of Wisconsin-Whitewater opened 122.5 and closed 59.5. He was drafted 98th overall by the Denver Broncos. Division III did not play any games in 2020 but the 320-pounder still managed to shine in the Senior Bowl, also earning the nickname, “The Gut”. His outdoor workout videos featured curls with gallon water jugs, footwork drills in the forest and barbaric exercises carrying tree trunks. They fostered memories of Rocky IV training scenes and the World’s Strongest Man competitions.

• Sportsbooks often struggle with booking the NFL Draft because oddsmakers are typically not as knowledgeable as those betting it and each year is so unique and unknown. For example, a common prop bet was the total number of ACC players drafted in the first round. Every book posted 5.5 as the prop. However, some books included Notre Dame players, given the school joined the conference for the condensed 2020 season. Other books did not specify, likely forgetting that potential variable. The over ultimately cashed without needing any Fighting Irish players but it’s just one example of the draft confusion and occasional sloppiness.

Odds & ends

• The sportsbook at The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey placed a $250,000 on the Detroit Tigers to beat the New York Yankees on Friday at +280 odds. The bet is among the largest reported this season. The Yankees won 10-0.

• Nevada sportsbooks won a net $39.3 million in March off $640.7 million wagered, according to revenue numbers released last week by the state’s gaming control board. Both the amount won and the amount wagers are all-time records for March.

Rising Suns: The Phoenix Suns have surged to a tie with the Utah Jazz for the NBA’s best record. They may end up with home-court advantage throughout the entire playoffs yet they are only the consensus seventh championship favorite. Bookmakers have shared that Phoenix has not drawn much interest from the betting public.

“I am unsure about all those teams in the range of 8-1 to 14-1. I don’t know who is better between the Jazz, Bucks, Sixers and Suns. No one really bets any of those teams,” Circa Sportsbook director Matt Metcalf told ESPN, sharing that the yes/no betting options draw the most interest. “The Nets, Clippers and Lakers two-way options represent about 90% of what we write on the futures.”

Many fans are unaware of divisions races but Phoenix began the season as 24-1 longshots to win the Pacific at Caesars William Hill. Their odds stood at 25-1 as recently as early February. But Chris Paul and the Suns have made a late push, while the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers each have had to deal with injuries to their superstars. Phoenix currently leads the Clippers by 3.5 games and is a -900 favorite at BetMGM. The Clips are +500.

Trouble in Tinseltown: It’s not often a -10,000 moneyline loses but there is actually a path for the Lakers to miss the playoffs. That was the opening price on the “yes” playoffs prop bet at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook (“no” was 20-1). James missed 20 straight games and left last night’s loss to the Toronto Raptors in the fourth quarter. The team officially called it “ankle soreness”, and it’s presumably connected to the high right ankle sprain that cost him the longest injury stint of his 18-year career.

The Lakers have now lost six of seven games and are currently tied with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trailblazers for fifth, sixth and seventh seeds. The Lake Show may be relegated to a play-in scenario and need to win one or two games against the likes of the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs. When asked last night about the new play-in format, James said, “Whoever came up with that s— needs to be fired.”

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Source — Atlanta Falcons not picking up TE Hayden Hurst’s fifth-year option



The Atlanta Falcons are not picking up the fifth-year option on tight end Hayden Hurst, meaning he’ll be a free agent after this season, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Monday.

Hurst had been the No. 25 pick of the 2018 NFL draft by Baltimore and then was traded last March along with a fourth-round pick to Atlanta for the Falcons’ second-and-fifth round picks last year.

He posted career-high numbers with the Falcons last season, making 56 catches for 571 yards and six touchdowns on 88 targets. In his career between Baltimore and Atlanta, he played in 44 games with 99 catches for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns.

While he had been the team’s No. 1 tight end option last season, the Falcons drafted Kyle Pitts No. 4 overall Thursday — the highest a tight end has ever been drafted in the modern era — potentially shifting Hurst’s role and his future in Atlanta. The team also traded for blocking tight end Lee Smith at the start of the new league year.

Hurst, 27, who is scheduled to be on the roster this season, has $1.349 million of his base salary for 2021 fully guaranteed and a cap hit of $1,984,914 and should end up as the No. 2 tight end for the Falcons this season.

Had the Falcons picked up the option, Hurst would have been paid $5.428 million in 2022, according to Over the Cap. The Falcons also must make a decision by Monday on the fifth-year option of receiver Calvin Ridley, although it would be surprising if Atlanta did not pick up Ridley’s option after a 90-catch, 1,374-yard, nine touchdown season in 2020.

Ridley’s option, according to Over the Cap, is expected to be $11.116 million.

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Dallas Cowboys’ draft (mostly) all about a defense that needed change – Dallas Cowboys Blog



FRISCO, Texas — What was your lasting memory of the Dallas Cowboys‘ defense from the 2020 NFL season?

Was it Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. running through the Cowboys’ defense for a 50-yard run after catching a 37-yard touchdown pass from fellow wide receiver Jarvis Landry? Was it Lamar Jackson‘s 37-yard touchdown run up the middle for the Baltimore Ravens as the Cowboys allowed 294 yards on the ground? Or, was it Christian Kirk‘s 80-yard touchdown catch for the Arizona Cardinals in a Week 6 loss?

And, who could forget Antonio Gibson‘s 23-yard touchdown run after an ill-fated fake punt decision in which the Washington Football Team running back derisively waved to Donovan Wilson as he crossed the goal line?

Maybe it was the time Mike Nolan had to pause a news conference because he got Tabasco in his eye.

After allowing a franchise-record 473 points and 6,183 yards in Nolan’s one year as coordinator, the Cowboys knew they had to make a drastic change in 2021 on defense.

It started in January with the hiring of Dan Quinn as coordinator and culminated over the 2021 NFL draft with a first in team history.

The Cowboys’ first six selections — linebacker Micah Parsons, cornerback Kelvin Joseph, defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa, defensive end Chauncey Golston, cornerback Nahshon Wright and linebacker Jabril Cox — were defensive players. In 1982, the first five picks were defenders. In the Jerry Jones era, the most defenders selected to start a draft was four in 2012.

For the first time since the start of the seven-round draft in 1994, the Cowboys drafted eight defensive players (out of 11 total players selected).

“There are a lot of things you can interpret from this,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t need to send any messages. It was pretty well known where we might need to do some addressing. … This has improved, the very best way we could, this team.”

The draft moves were not completely by the Cowboys’ design. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said Dallas considered an offensive lineman and wide receiver at different spots on Day 2 but ultimately opted to go back to the defense. Before the Cowboys selected Wright at No. 99, they very nearly opted to take Cox and were more than pleased to see the LSU linebacker available at No. 115.

“We still talked about a number of offensive players, but this is the best for our football team,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said.

Dallas felt it needed to get faster defensively. Parsons ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash, and Wright came in at 4.47 seconds. Cox ran in the 4.5s at his pro day two weeks ago, but his strength is his play in space.

The Cowboys added playmaking and size at cornerback with Joseph and Wright (6-foot-4). Mukuamu, who is also 6-foot-4, will move to safety from cornerback.

Parsons has the strength and speed to rush the passer but also the flexibility to cover. Cox was considered one of the draft’s best coverage linebackers. Odighizuwa can create pressure up the middle, while Bohanna can plug holes in the run defense.

“We came in looking to make us a bigger, longer, stronger, faster defense and a team,” Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay said.

It was clear Quinn had an influence; just don’t call it a Quinn draft.

“It’s a Dallas Cowboys draft,” Quinn said. “I still would’ve been happy if we came in here and had eight offensive players and three guys. I was happy with the process. It’s just how the board fell. … Having players with the skill sets, now it’s up to us, OK. All the unique things that a player has, now you want to put them in a position where they can utilize those things. So, I’m looking forward to finding out what some of the superpowers are of what some of the guys have, and then create them and put them in the roles.”

McCarthy is an offensive coach. He was a quarterbacks coach before becoming an offensive coordinator before taking over as head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 2006. If he is going to lean one way — or offer to break a tie — most would think it would be offensively.

That the Cowboys leaned so hard defensively tells you what he thought of the group.

“Every year you have to take a hard look, and you either have to make changes, adjustments and emphasize and expand on what you’ve accomplished,” McCarthy said. “This is part of the change … and the advancement of how we want to look as a football team, how we want to play as a football team. And not only that, we want competition all the way through our building.”

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