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Notable bets – Action on the Vikings convinced bookmakers that Dak Prescott wouldn’t play

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott wasn’t ruled out officially until roughly 90 minutes prior to kickoff of the Sunday night game against the Minnesota Vikings. However, based on the betting that had taken place earlier in the week, bookmakers had been convinced Prescott wasn’t going to play for days.

The Cowboys began last week as the favorites over the Vikings. That changed during a two-hour stretch on Thursday that saw the line move from Cowboys -1.5 to Vikings -2.5 at sportsbooks around the nation. Influential bettors had begun to bet on the Vikings. The SuperBook, a longtime, respected sportsbook in Las Vegas that has expanded into Colorado and New Jersey, moved the Cowboys-Vikings line to pick ’em just after 5 p.m. Thursday.

The SuperBook’s bookmaking team attempted to stay ahead of the growing interest on Minnesota, but still attracted a wager on the Vikings at pick ’em from a betting account in New Jersey that executive director John Murray considers sharp.

“We know that player is someone who is generally ahead of the market on injury information,” Murray said. “When we saw that bet, we decided to shade the game as if Prescott wasn’t playing or would be limited if he did play.” Jeff Stoneback, director of BetMGM sportsbooks in Nevada, said he started seeing larger wagers on the Vikings late in the week and by Sunday afternoon he believed that Prescott would not play.

“Based upon the betting, I would say he’s out,” Stoneback told ESPN on Sunday, hours before Prescott was officially announced inactive. “We do have a decent-sized decision on that game right now. We’re needing the Cowboys. The larger money has come in on the Vikings, but it’s almost a two-to-one ticket count on the Cowboys. The public is still betting them Dak or no Dak.”

The line closed at Vikings -4.5. Dallas won 20-16, behind backup quarterback Cooper Rush, and improved to 7-0 against the spread this season. The Cowboys are the fourth team since 2000 to cover the spread in seven straight games to start the season.

NFL notables

*After an unheard-of three straight losing Sundays in a row, sportsbooks got revenge this week, and in a big way. “This has been our best Sunday of the season to date,” Murray of the SuperBook said. “I’m sure your readers will be relieved to hear that this weekend will save the month of October for us and keep us in diamonds and furs. The Bengals losing outright was our best game of the day and maybe our best result of the season to date.”

*The story was the same at sportsbooks around the nation. They cleaned up, especially on the Jets’ 34-31 upset of the Bengals. Cincinnati opened as 3.5-point favorites, before Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson went down with a knee injury. The line grew to Cincinnati -11 by kickoff, making it the biggest upset of the season point-spread wise and producing a giant win for the sportsbooks.

*The Bengals’ money-line also was the most popular bet at sportsbook PointsBet, where the Jets’ outright upset resulted in the second-largest win of the season, behind only the Patriots covering the spread against the Buccaneers.

*The Bengals attracted roughly five time as much money as the Jets at BetMGM books in Nevada. “The Jets winning straight-up was huge for us,” Stoneback said.

*At BetRivers sportsbooks, for every money-line bet on the Jets, there were 16 on the Bengals.

*In Las Vegas sportsbook Circa’s NFL survivor pool, 871 entries-just over 40% of the remaining contestants–picked the Bengals this week, the most of any team.

*Largest reported bets by Caesars Sportsbook:

$520,000 on Bengals -9.5 (Loss)
$520,000 on Broncos -3 (Win)
$520,000 on Browns -3.5 (Loss)
$500,000 on 49ers -3.5 (Win)
$500,000 on Colts +100 money-line (Loss)

*The Bengals were the first double-digit favorite to lose straight-up this season.

*For some reason, the betting public fell for the underdog Detroit Lions against the Philadelphia Eagles. On Sunday morning at FanDuel, 80% of the money wagered was on the Lions plus the points. The Eagles won 44-6.

“The public was betting on the Lions. That was a surprise,” Stoneback of BetMGM said. “I looked today and the ticket count discrepancy was like two-to-one on the Lions.”

*Caesars Sportsbook began taking in-person bets at its Louisiana properties Sunday, including at Harrah’s New Orleans, where just down the street the Saints were hosting the Buccaneers. According to Caesars vice president of trading Craig Mucklow, there was nearly “30 times” as much money bet on the Saints as there was on the Buccaneers in Louisiana at his sportsbooks.

*The Rams, who closed as 16.5-point favorites over the Texans, raced out to a 38-0 lead at the end of the third quarter, only to be outscored 22-0 in the fourth quarter and settle for a 38-22 win.

College football notables

*If you’ve bet long enough, you’ve likely experienced what happened Saturday night in the Florida State-Clemson. But it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

Florida State, a 9.5-point underdog, who trailed 24-20 with seconds left, attempted multiple desperate laterals after a completion that ended with a fumble being recovered for a touchdown by Clemson. Final score: Clemson 30, Florida 20.

The last play not only covered the spread but also pushed the game over the total of 47.5. At Caesars Sportsbook, 66% of the bets and 62% of the money wagered was on the Seminoles.

It was the first game that Clemson had covered the spread all season.

*The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released Tuesday. Here are the current odds of the top contenders to win the national championship at Caesars Sportsbook:

Georgia +110
Alabama +260
Ohio State +550
Oklahoma +1,200
Cincinnati +3,000
Michigan State +4,000
Oregon +5,000

*Opening lines for this week’s notable games via Las Vegas sportsbook Circa Sports:

Ohio State (-16, 68.5) at Nebraska
Wake Forest at North Carolina -2, 78.5
Missouri at Georgia -39, 61.5
Oklahoma State -3, 57.5 at West Virginia
Michigan State -3, 57.5 at Purdue
Auburn at Texas A&M -6, 52.5
LSU at Alabama -29, 63.5
Oregon -7, 51.5 at Washington

What were the odds?

18-1: Crystal Palace’s odds to beat Man City on Saturday in the three-way line at DraftKings. Crystal Palace won 2-0.

35-1: The Lions’ opening odds to finish the regular season at 0-17 at Caesars Sportsbook. Detroit dropped to 0-7 with Sunday’s blowout loss to the Eagles.

14-1: The Cowboys’ odds to win the Super Bowl last week, when a bettor in Michigan with DraftKings placed a $100,000 bet on Dallas that would pay a net $1.4 million. “We got a little liability on them now,” DraftKings sportsbook director Johnny Avello said.



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New England Patriots throw just three passes, dominate on the ground in win over Buffalo Bills

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Taking the ball out of rookie quarterback Mac Jones‘ hands in wind gusts over 40 miles per hour, and relying on their running game, the New England Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills 14-10 at Highmark Stadium on Monday night to enter their bye week as the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Overall, Jones was just 2-of-3 for 19 yards, while the Patriots ran for 222 yards on 46 carries.

The three passing attempts are the fewest ever in Patriots history, while the two completions match their fewest, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The three pass attempts were the fewest by any team since the Bills attempted just two in Week 3 of the 1974 season (vs. the New York Jets).

The Patriots’ fewest pass attempts in a game was previously five, which came in the 1982 “Snow Plow” game against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough, Massachusetts – a game played in a driving snowstorm that was scoreless in the fourth quarter when stadium worker Mark Henderson drove a tractor on to the field to clear a spot for the only field goal of the game.

The Patriots improve to 9-4, with the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs all 8-4. The Bills, meanwhile, drop to 7-5 and their margin for error to win the AFC East has been thinned.

Jones threw just one pass in the first half — when the Patriots led 11-7 at the break — and completed it for 12 yards. The pass sailed high in the wind and tight end Jonnu Smith pulled it down.

That was the fewest first-half pass attempts by a team since at least 1978, which is as far back as data is available, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The previous record was two, which happened three times, most recently by the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14 of 2017 — also in Buffalo, in snowy conditions.

Overall, Jones’ only other completion was a screen pass in the fourth quarter.

The only other games in Patriots history in which they completed just two passes came in December of 1982, and November of 1969 — both against the Miami Dolphins.

Their one passing first down tied for the second fewest in franchise history, and was their fewest since Dec. 4, 1983. The Pittsburgh Steelers were the last team in the NFL that won a game with one or fewer passing first downs, doing so in 2010 with Dennis Dixon as their quarterback.

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Potential No. 1 pick Kayvon Thibodeaux to declare for NFL draft, skip Oregon Ducks’ bowl game

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Star Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux is declaring for the NFL draft, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday.

Thibodeaux will not play in the Ducks’ bowl game, a matchup against No. 16 Oklahoma in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29, and instead will start preparing for the draft, sources said.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Thibodeaux rated No. 1 overall in his latest Big Board. Fellow ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has him as the No. 2-rated prospect in this year’s draft class.

The 6-foot-5 Thibodeaux was the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2019 and a first-team All-Pac-12 selection last year after arriving at Oregon as the No. 1-ranked player in the class of 2019. He played 10 games this season — an ankle injury slowed him up early — and finished with seven sacks and 49 total tackles.

Thibodeaux was also at the forefront of players’ ability to capitalize on their name, image and likeness. He signed a handful of deals, including one with Ebay, another with United Airlines and a six-figure memorabilia deal. He also released an NFT in partnership with Nike founder Phil Knight and sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield that sold for $100 per unit. In September, he launched his own cryptocurrency called $JREAM.

Thibodeaux’s early exit came on the same day Mario Cristobal left Oregon to take the head-coaching position at Miami.

Information from ESPN’s Paolo Uggetti was used in this report.

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New York Giants QB Daniel Jones (neck) unlikely to play vs. Los Angeles Chargers, sources say

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After further visits with team doctors and specialists to have his neck injury evaluated, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is unlikely to play Sunday vs. the Los Angeles Chargers, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Jones missed Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins. He was injured the previous week in a win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants (4-8) remain hopeful he won’t miss much more time and will return this season.

Mike Glennon started in Jones’ place on Sunday, but was diagnosed with a concussion after the contest. That puts newly acquired quarterback Jake Fromm potentially in line to start against the Chargers. It only adds to questions about whether Jones has done enough in his first three professional seasons to convince the Giants — and potentially a new general manager — that he is a true franchise quarterback they should build around.

Fromm, a University of Georgia standout, was signed off the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad last week. He has never played in an NFL game and could be making his first start 11 days after joining the team.

“It’s the beauty of the NFL. It’s next man up. Jake is getting his opportunity,” said Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas, who was also his teammate at Georgia. “I’m excited for him to get his chance. But like I said, next man up, and we’re doing everything to help him.”

The Giants also have former Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke on their practice squad. He seems to have been immediately jumped by Fromm on the depth chart.

Judge said that Fromm would be next in line this week at practice with Jones and Glennon sidelined. The Giants might still add additional contingencies.

“We’re talking internally about a lot of options personnel-wise to see what we can do and build in depth for a multitude of reasons,” coach Joe Judge said.

Judge said after the game in Miami that Glennon would remain the starter if healthy while Jones remained sidelined. But Glennon’s status is in doubt and might not be decided until late this week.

He’s currently in the concussion protocol.

“The optimistic view would be to have [Glennon] ready for the game on Sunday,” Judge said during a Monday afternoon conference call from Arizona, where the Giants are practicing this week.

New York is also dealing with COVID-19 issues. Offensive lineman Wes Martin and quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski tested positive on Monday, per Judge.

Martin was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday afternoon. Schuplinski was involved in meetings virtually throughout the day as the Giants try to get Fromm coached up quickly for a potential start.

Having Fromm start would provide some limitations.

“For a guy who has only been in your system for a couple days, you have to go ahead and select more of a menu what he can operate with in a game,” Judge said. “That is not always based on what he’s capable of with his ability, it’s just based on being new in a scheme and system and what he’s comfortable going out there and playing aggressively and making the right decisions within.”

Fromm has crammed hard since joining the Giants. He stayed after practice on Friday last week and did extra work with Jones there to provide input.

The fifth-round pick by the Buffalo Bills last year has made a positive first impression.

“He’s an intelligent guy. He’s demonstrated that already,” Judge said. “He has very good poise out there and he has a very good presence. Once thing that is very impressive about this guy is you talk to former teammates of his, like we did before he got in here, most of those Georgia guys, and every single one lit up and said we’d absolutely love to have that guy on the team.”

The bar won’t be especially high. The Giants failed to score a touchdown on Sunday in Miami. They have one touchdown in the two games since offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was fired.

Glennon went 23-of-44 for 187 yards with an interception against the Dolphins.

Jones has completed 64.3% of his passes for 2,428 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.

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