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NFL MVP, Super Bowl futures watch

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Through five weeks, the NFL is starting to take shape and it seems as though we have a clearer picture of which teams are true contenders and which teams are merely knocking on the door. Consequently, the futures market reflects this perception, even though the playoffs do not begin for another three months.

Super Bowl options

The Chiefs fell flat in the weekend’s biggest game and now find themselves under .500 at 2-3. It’s nearly impossible for us to envision these struggles to continue, given we have only seen them succeed with an MVP at quarterback that’s coming off back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. While I realize things can change and their next three opponents are Washington, Tennessee and the Giants, the Chiefs defense is atrocious and that likely will prove insurmountable. The fact that they only have the third-shortest odds at +750 is wild. I cannot recommend a play. Remember, the “Super Bowl hangover” has been proven over time. The 1972 Miami Dolphins and 2018 Patriots are the only teams to lose a Super Bowl and win it the following season.

A week ago, in this very space, I explained how 20/1 odds seemed like a strike price for an emerging Los Angeles Chargers squad. Following a home win over Cleveland, the Chargers now have 16/1 odds. I still think it’s an attractive price for two reasons. First, following that third loss, Kansas City sits two full games back and lost the first meeting with L.A. at home. Second, the Bolt travel to Baltimore on Sunday and then have a favorable schedule remaining, all things considered.

What if the resurgent Dallas Cowboys defense is legitimate? It’s hard to constantly dismiss it, just because of last season’s shortcomings on defense under a different coordinator that was constantly put in difficult situations by an offense that had lost star QB Dak Prescott to injury. Dallas is the only NFL team this season that’s 5-0 ATS and sure seems like an intriguing play at 14/1 odds. The Cowboys are now favored by four points in New England. Yes, Mike McCarthy is laying more than a field goal at Bill Belichick. Before the season, the Pats were a short a home favorite of about one point.

Super Bowl futures

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +550
Buffalo Bills +550
Kansas City Chiefs+750
Los Angeles Rams +850
Green Bay Packers +1200
Baltimore Ravens +1200
Arizona Cardinals +1300
Cleveland Browns +1400
Dallas Cowboys +1400
Los Angeles Chargers +1600

MVP options

As I predicted, Buffalo’s win moved Josh Allen into serious MVP consideration. He’s now a betting co-favorite with Kyler Murray at +500. I just cannot pull the trigger on either or any of the other top five players: Tom Brady, Prescott and Justin Herbert.

I wouldn’t blame anyone for backing NFC quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers or Matthew Stafford at 11/1 odds. Their teams, the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams, are tied with the Tampa Bay Bucs with one loss and are just a game back of undefeated Arizona. The question is whether one of them can lead their team to the one-seed. Personally, I would wait longer to see if I can anticipate more outcomes and then try to find value in this one-way betting market.

MVP Favorites

Kyler Murray +500
Josh Allen +500
Tom Brady +600
Dak Prescott +700
Justin Herbert +700
Aaron Rodgers +1100
Lamar Jackson +1000
Matt Stafford +1100
Patrick Mahomes +1500

Other awards to watch

  • Although five quarterbacks were drafted within the first 15 picks in this year’s NFL Draft, a wide receiver is now the betting favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Ja’Marr Chase (+375) has reunited with his former college teammate, Burrow, and sits seventh with 456 receiving yards and is tied for second with five receiving touchdowns.

  • I recommended it last week and I’ll do the same now. Dak Prescott is only -190 to win Comeback Player of the Year. It’s as much of a sure thing as there is in the betting world. The quarterback is currently sitting fourth in the MVP betting board and it sure looks like only a serious injury would jeopardize his path to cementing this honor. Joe Burrow (+750) is part of the discussion and so is Jameis Winston (12/1).

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NFL Week 13 betting nuggets

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The Week 13 slate is highlighted by the Buffalo Bills hosting the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. New England has won and covered six straight games to take over first place in the AFC East. Buffalo still enters the week as a slight favorite to win the division at -125.

Both teams are looking up at the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC standings. Baltimore visits Pittsburgh in the largest home underdog spot in Ben Roethlisberger’s career.

Meanwhile, the NFL’s top team, the Arizona Cardinals, look to improve to 7-0 both outright and ATS on the road as they visit the Chicago Bears. Arizona can become the third team in the Super Bowl era to win seven straight road games by double digits.

Season Stats

Favorites: 7-8 ATS (8-7 SU), 77-100-1 ATS this season (106-71-1 SU)

Road teams: 5-10 ATS (6-9 SU); 101-78-1 ATS this season (90-89-1 SU)

Unders: 8-7 (100-78-2 this season)

Best records ATS: Green Bay (10-2), Dallas (8-3), Arizona (8-3)

Worst record ATS: New York Jets (3-8)

Best over team: Indianapolis (8-4)

Best under team: Seattle (9-1-1)

Teams favored in every game: Kansas City, Tampa Bay

Teams to be underdog in every game: Detroit, New York Jets


Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) at New York Jets, Sunday, 1 ET

  • New York is 9-17 ATS as an underdog since the start of last season, worst in the NFL.

  • New York is 2-8 ATS this season, the worst ATS record in the NFL this season.

  • New York is one of two teams to not be favored in a game this season, along with Detroit.

  • New York is 1-5 ATS on the road this season, tied with Tampa Bay for the worst road cover percentage in the NFL.

  • Philadelphia is 11-0 all-time against New York (10-1 ATS).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-11) at Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, 1 ET

  • Tampa Bay is 1-5 ATS on the road this season, tied with the New York Jets for the worst road cover percentage in the NFL. Its only cover on the road came last week against Indianapolis.

  • Atlanta has failed to cover four of its five home games this season.

  • Tom Brady is 6-1 ATS against Matt Ryan, including the playoffs.

  • Each of the last seven meetings between these two teams has gone over the total.

  • Atlanta is 0-3 ATS against teams with winning records this season.

Arizona Cardinals (-8) at Chicago Bears, Sunday, 1 ET

  • Arizona is 6-0 ATS on the road this season, the best road cover percentage in the NFL.

  • Chicago is 0-3 ATS as a home underdog this season.

  • Chicago has failed to cover in five of its past six games.

  • Chicago has failed to cover in each of its past four games against teams with winning records.

  • The under is 6-2 in Justin Fields starts.

Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals (-3), Sunday, 1 ET

  • Cincinnati has failed to cover its last four home games.

  • Los Angeles has failed to cover in each of its past three games and is 1-5 ATS in its last six games.

  • Justin Herbert is 5-3 ATS (3-5 SU) as a road underdog in his career.

  • This is the fifth straight game Cincinnati has been favored in, its longest streak since the final five games of 2013.

Minnesota Vikings (-7) at Detroit Lions, Sunday, 1 ET

  • Detroit is the 17th team in the Super Bowl era to go winless through 11 games. Detroit is the only one of the 17 to have a winning record against the spread in that stretch. Detroit is 7-4 ATS this season, including 6-1 ATS when getting at least four points (five straight covers).

  • Detroit is one of two teams to not be favored in a game this season, along with the New York Jets.

  • Eight of Detroit’s last nine games have gone under the total.

  • Minnesota has played 10 one-score games, most in the NFL, including three overtime games and five games decided by three points or fewer.

  • Minnesota has covered four of its past five road games (4-2 ATS this season).

  • Minnesota has covered four of its past five coming off a straight-up loss.

  • Kirk Cousins has never been favored by more than 6.5 points on the road.

New York Giants at Miami Dolphins (-4), Sunday, 1 ET

  • Miami has covered four straight games. Miami has also covered each of its past three home games.

  • Miami is 5-1 ATS as a home favorite under Brian Flores.

  • New York is 4-1 ATS against teams with losing records this season.

  • New York is 9-3 ATS as a road underdog under Joe Judge.

Indianapolis Colts (-9) at Houston Texans, Sunday, 1 ET

  • Tyrod Taylor is 9-2 ATS in his last 11 starts including playoffs, dating back to 2017.

  • Tyrod Taylor is 8-3-1 ATS in his career when getting at least six points

  • Indianapolis has covered each of its past four road games.

  • Indianapolis has covered eight of its past 10 games against Houston.

  • Indianapolis is 5-1 ATS as a road favorite since the start of last season, the second-best cover percentage in the NFL over that span.

Washington at Las Vegas Raiders (-2.5), Sunday, 4:05 ET

  • Las Vegas has failed to cover in each of its past three games in which the line fell between -3 and +3.

  • Washington is 1-5 ATS against teams with winning records this season.

  • Las Vegas has failed to cover in four of its past five home games.

  • Washington has covered three straight games after starting the season 1-7 ATS.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Rams (-13), Sunday 4:05 ET

  • Since the start of last season, Los Angeles is 0-4 ATS as a double-digit favorite.

  • Each of Jacksonville’s last six games have gone under the total. The under is 9-2 in Jacksonville games.

  • Jacksonville is 2-0 ATS as a double-digit underdog this season with an outright win over Buffalo as a 15.5-point underdog. Jacksonville is 3-1 ATS when getting at least seven points.

Baltimore Ravens (-4.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, 4:25 ET

  • Ben Roethlisberger has never been more than a 3.5-point home underdog in his career. Baltimore has never been more than a 3.5-point road favorite in Pittsburgh.

  • Baltimore is 3-6 ATS as a favorite this season and 2-6 ATS in Lamar Jackson starts (all as at least a three-point favorite).

  • Pittsburgh is 1-5 ATS at home this season, tied with Kansas City for the worst cover percentage at home this season.

  • Baltimore is 10-1-1 ATS over its past 12 games in which the spread falls between +3 and -3.

  • Since the start of the 2018 season, Pittsburgh is 16-5-1 ATS as an underdog.

  • Each of Baltimore’s last four road games have gone under the total.

San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, 4:25 ET

  • Seattle games are 9-1-1 to the under this season, including 6-0-1 after a loss and 7-0 in conference games. The under is 14-2 in Russell Wilson‘s last 16 regular-season starts.

  • Seattle is 2-6 ATS in Russell Wilson starts this season, failing to cover in the last four instances.

  • Seattle is 16-7 ATS against San Francisco under Pete Carroll.

  • Seattle is 15-7 ATS as a home underdog under Pete Carroll. Russell Wilson is 5-4 outright and 6-3 ATS as a home underdog.

  • Each of Seattle’s last four home games have gone under the total.

  • Jimmy Garoppolo is 9-0 outright and 6-3 ATS as a road favorite in his career (3-1 ATS this season).

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5), Sunday, 8:20 ET

  • This is the second-largest underdog spot for Denver this season. In Week 9, Denver upset Dallas as a 10-point road underdog.

  • Nine of Denver’s 11 games have gone under the total this season.

  • Kansas City is 1-5 ATS at home this season, tied with Pittsburgh for the worst cover percentage at home this season.

  • Kansas City has covered eight of its past 10 games against Denver.

  • Kansas City is 12-8 ATS against AFC West opponents when Patrick Mahomes starts.

  • Andy Reid is 14-8 ATS in his career after a bye, but only 1-3 ATS in the past four seasons.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-2.5), Monday, 8 ET on ESPN

  • New England has the longest active cover streak in the league at six straight games.

  • Bill Belichick is 35-20-1 ATS as a road underdog in his time in New England.

  • Buffalo has covered each of its last five games in the month of December or later.

  • Buffalo is 4-0-1 ATS in its past five games against AFC East opponents.

  • Bill Belichick is 15-5-1 ATS in his career at Buffalo (6-1 ATS in last seven; 4-1 ATS as underdog).

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians hopes NFL keeps looking into vaccination statuses

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TAMPA, Fla. — Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Friday that he believes the NFL needs to take a closer look at other teams after two of his players — Antonio Brown and Mike Edwards — and one former player, John Franklin III, were found to have provided fake vaccination cards.

“We’ve done everything. There’s a lot more to that story. I just hope they don’t stop looking,” said Arians, who said two weeks ago that he had no reason to believe Brown or any player falsified their vaccination status.

But an NFL investigation revealed that the three players presented the team with fake vaccination cards, resulting in a three-game suspension. Carrying a fake vaccine card is also considered a federal crime and punishable by up to five years in prison.

When asked if he believes there are other issues throughout the league, he said, “Maybe.”

The NFL told ESPN on Thursday that there are no plans to alter how teams collect and vet vaccination cards. A big reason for that is because 80% of the 94.5% of vaccinated players were vaccinated at team facilities, according to league spokesperson Brian McCarthy, minimizing the potential risk for falsification. The NFL will continue to rely on teams to inspect vaccine cards.

The NFL also did not levy any sort of fine on the Buccaneers, unlike previous team COVID-19 violations, such as a $500,000 fine issued against the Las Vegas Raiders last year or the $300,000 on the Green Bay Packers recently, believing they too were misled about the players’ vaccination statuses, a source told ESPN.

Arians also defended his team’s handling of the virus.

“In the last two years, I don’t know if there’s been a team better at COVID than we’ve been. This is a setback because of what happened. But we have done an amazing job, and even when the guys — we have never had an outbreak in a position room. So I’m very happy with that part.”

He expressed anger over the players’ decisions after the team worked hard to keep the virus out of the building. The team’s mantra all last season was “beat the virus” and the organization has long credited their approach to handling the virus as a key reason why they won the Super Bowl.

They were even praised by President Joe Biden during a ceremony at the White House this summer for their approach to handling the virus, which included vaccinating 200,000 members of the community.”

“It pisses me off,” Arians said. “But it is what it is.”

Arians said the team will treat both Brown and Edwards as injured players and will not address their respective futures with the team until after they return. Brown is nursing an ankle injury that will keep him out for at least another two weeks, sources told ESPN, while Edwards is dealing with a knee injury.

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New York Giants QB Daniel Jones not cleared for contact, out vs. Miami Dolphins

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New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will not play in Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, coach Joe Judge told reporters Friday.

Jones has not been cleared for contact after suffering a neck strain during last week’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Jones was believed to be injured while running the football on the second play, but he said there wasn’t really soreness until after the game.

“At this point he has not been cleared for contact, so we’re going to go ahead and hold him out of this game,” Judge said. “At this point, we don’t feel 100% comfortable with him until the medical team clears him fully, so as of right now we will rule him out.”

“We will evaluate him for the future, including as soon next week, with the doctors,” Judge added. “We don’t have any answers as of yet.”

Mike Glennon is set to start in Jones’ place. Glennon went 0-5 as a starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020. His last win as a starting quarterback came during the 2017 season with the Chicago Bears.

Jake Fromm, signed by the Giants this week off the Buffalo Bills‘ practice squad, will back up Glennon.

This is the third straight season that Jones has been forced to miss a game late in the season. He missed time with a high ankle sprain as a rookie and for a hamstring injury in 2020.

Jones, 24, has completed 64.3% of his passes for 2,428 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. He also has rushed for 298 yards and two touchdowns.

Glennon, 31, went 16-of-25 passing for 196 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions while playing in a blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 10.

Information from ESPN’s Jordan Raanan was used in this report.

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