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NFL, college football betting market watch



Here is our weekly look at how the NFL and college football betting markets are shaping up leading into the weekend.

For consistency, lines, totals and betting percentages are from Caesars Sportsbook, unless otherwise noted. The betting percentages are not specific to the current line or total and are designed to provide a snapshot of the early action. The look-ahead lines were offered in advance of the previous week’s games. Most numbers were re-opened Sunday night.

NFL market watch

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (Thursday)

Last week’s look-ahead line: Colts -14, 44
Sunday: Colts -10.5, 46.5
Thursday: Colts -10.5, 46
Spread action: 68% of the bets and 78% of the money wagered is on the Jets.
Total action: 62% of the bets and 72% of the money wagered is on the over.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

Last week’s look-ahead line: Bengals -3, 45
Sunday: Bengals -2.5, 45.5
Thursday: Bengals -2.5, 47
Spread action: 88% of the bets are on the Bengals, but 68% of the money wagered is on the Browns.
Total action: 72% of the bets and 96% of the money wagered is on the over.

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints

Last week’s look-ahead line: Saints -5.5, 45.5
Sunday: Saints -5, 44
Thursday: Saints -6, 42.5
Spread action: 60% of the bets and 71% of the money wagered is on the Saints.
Total action: 55% of the bets are on the over, but 59% of the money wagered is on the under.

New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers

Last week’s look-ahead line: Patriots -2.5, 43.5
Sunday: Patriots -3, 43.5
Thursday: Patriots -3.5, 41
Spread action: 88% of the bets and 93% of the money wagered is on the Patriots.
Total action: 71% of the bets are on the over, but 67% of the money wagered is on the under.

Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys

Last week’s look-ahead line: Cowboys -7.5, 49
Sunday: Cowboys -7.5, 49
Thursday: Cowboys -9. 49.5
Spread action: 72% of the bets and 77% of the money wagered is on the Cowboys.
Total action: 73% of the bets and 86% of the money wagered is on the under.

Note: The Cowboys have covered the spread in their first seven games. If they cover against the Broncos on Sunday, they would become the first team to start 8-0 ATS since the 2007 Patriots.

Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars

Last week’s look-ahead line: Bills -10.5, 50.5
Sunday: Bills -13.5, 48.5
Thursday: Bills -15, 48.5
Spread action: 92% of the bets and 91% of the money wagered is on the Bills.
Total action: 72% of the bets and 96% of the money wagered is on the over.

Las Vegas Raiders at New York Giants

Last week’s look-ahead line: Raiders -3, 47.5
Sunday: Raiders -3, 47.5
Thursday: Raiders -3, 46
Spread action: 90% of the bets and 77% of the money wagered is on the Raiders.
Total action: 51% of the bets are on the over, but 62% of the money wagered is on the under.

Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins

Last week’s look-ahead line: Dolphins -7, 45
Sunday: Dolphins -7, 46
Thursday: Dolphins -6.5, 46
Spread action: 57% of the bets and 80% of the money wagered is on the Texans.
Total action: 63% of the bets are on the under, but 75% of the money wagered is on the over.

Note: Winds of around 14 mph were in midweek forecasts for Miami.

Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens

Last week’s look-ahead line: Ravens -6, 50
Sunday: Ravens -6, 50
Thursday: Ravens -6, 49.5
Spread action: 83% of the bets and 81% of the money wagered is on the Ravens.
Total action: 56% of the bets and 93% of the money wagered is on the over.

Los Angeles Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles

Last week’s look-ahead line: Chargers -3, 50
Sunday: Chargers -3, 50.5
Thursday: Chargers -1.5, 50
Spread action: 87% of the bets and 84% of the money wagered is on the Chargers.
Total action: 57% of the bets and 55% of the money wagered is on the Chargers.

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

Last week’s look-ahead line: Cardinals -3, 47
Sunday: Cardinals -2.5, 47
Thursday: Cardinals -1, 45
Spread action: 80% of the bets and 75% of the money wagered is on the Cardinals.
Total action: 66% of the bets are on the over, but 81% of the money wagered is on the under.

Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs

Last week’s look-ahead line: Chiefs -2.5, 54
Sunday: Chiefs -2.5, 55
Thursday: Chiefs -7, 48
Spread action: 73% of the bets have been on the Packers, but 68% of the money wagered is on the Chiefs.
Total action: 53% of the bets and 79% of the money wagered is on the under.

Note: Caesars Sportsbook reported taking a $520,000 bet on the Chiefs -7 on Wednesday. The change from Aaron Rodgers to backup Jordan Love resulted in a seven-point adjustment to the line. The point spread got as high as Kansas City -8.5 after news of Rodgers’ positive COVID-19 test. Multiple sportsbooks reported taking big bets on the Packers when the line was briefly above seven.

Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Rams

Last week’s look-ahead line: Rams -4.5, 52.5
Sunday: Rams -6, 53.5
Thursday: Rams -7.5, 53.5
Spread action: 82% of the bets and 81% of the money wagered is on the Rams.
Total action: 64% of the bets and 76% of the money wagered is on the under.

Note: The Rams’ odds to win the Super Bowl improved from +850 to +650 at BetRivers’ sportsbooks after the trade for Von Miller. The sportsbook reported “high volume” of Rams bets all week across all markets. The Titans will be without running back Derrick Henry, who has been placed on injured reserve with a foot injury.

Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers (Monday)

Last week’s look-ahead line: Steelers -5, 40.5
Sunday: Steelers -6.5, 40
Thursday: Steelers -6.5, 40
Spread action: 57% of the bets are on the Steelers, but 65% of the money wagered is on the Bears.
Total action: 57% of the bets are on the over, but 51% of the money wagered is on the under.

An oddsmaker’s approach

DeckPrism is a Las Vegas-based odds provider, focused on live, in-game odds. The company, spearheaded by wise-guy founders Ed Miller and Matthew Davidow, provides live odds feeds to sportsbooks. They are sharing their oddsmaking approach with ESPN occasionally during football season.

This week, Davidow breaks down his thinking when a quarterback gets hurt during a game, like Saints’ QB Jameis Winston against the Buccaneers on Sunday.

“When a QB gets hurt there’s two things we ask ourselves,” Davidow said. “What are the chances the quarterback will return?”

Davidow jokes about fancying himself a “TV doctor” and tries to assess the severity of injuries. After seeing Winston get pulled down awkwardly from behind, twisting his knee, Davidow estimated that the Saints QB had only a 20 percent chance of returning.

Next, Davidow quickly gauged the difference between Winston and backup Trevor Siemian. He felt that Winston is better than Siemian, but not by that much.

“However, what is very important when it comes to a quarterback injury is preparation,” Davidow said. “Siemian coming in cold after a week of mental reps is not the same as Siemian practicing all week with a game plan that plays to his strengths. So, we moved the Saints offense down a decent bit.”

Davidow believed that bettors and other oddsmakers would overestimate the impact of a cold Siemian coming off the bench, at least compared to DeckPrism’s odds.

“Sure enough, almost every bet we saw the rest of the game was on Tampa,” he said.

College football market watch

Notable lines and movement via Circa Sports, one of first sportsbooks in the U.S. to hang a full slate of point spreads and totals each week.

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New Orleans Saints WR Deonte Harris suspended three games; DE Cameron Jordan put on COVID-19 list



METAIRIE, La. — The hits keep coming for one of the NFL’s most depleted rosters.

New Orleans Saints receiver/kick returner Deonte Harris was officially suspended three games Monday for a summer DUI arrest after his appeal was unsuccessful. And defensive end Cameron Jordan was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list — putting one of the NFL’s longest iron man streaks in serious jeopardy.

Jordan has played in 172 consecutive regular-season games — the longest active streak of any nonspecialist in the NFL. He will need two negative tests 24 hours apart to be able to return in time for Sunday’s game at the New York Jets. Ironically, Saints linebacker Demario Davis would replace Jordan atop that list if he can’t play. Davis has played in 156 consecutive games.

Jordan, 32, has never missed a game since being drafted in the first round in 2011. He has four sacks this season and 98.5 in his career.

The Saints (5-7) are already thin at defensive end, with fellow starter Marcus Davenport having missed the past two games with a shoulder injury and veteran backup Tanoh Kpassagnon having been placed on injured reserve last week.

Their offense has also been seriously banged up during their current five-game losing streak — though they are hoping to get at least some from the group of running back Alvin Kamara and offensive tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk back from knee injuries this week.

Quarterback Taysom Hill will also be playing through the pain of a mallet finger injury in his right throwing hand and a partially torn plantar fascia in his foot.

The 24-year-old Harris, a third-year pro who has taken on a bigger role on offense this year, leads the Saints with 523 receiving yards and has three long touchdowns on 31 catches.

Harris’ DUI case was resolved earlier in November when he was sentenced to one year of supervised probation. Maryland court records show that Harris pleaded not guilty but agreed to the statement of facts in the police report. According to that police report, which was obtained by, Harris registered a blood alcohol content of 0.246% after driving more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit and swerving across three lanes of traffic on the interstate at 1:30 a.m.

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Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love placed on COVID-19 list



GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Jordan Love, who has been taking most of the midweek practice reps while Aaron Rodgers treats and rests his fractured pinkie toe, was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday.

The team made the announcement on the day players returned to the facility from their bye week. Love, who has said he is vaccinated, would have been part of the group of players tested upon their return for their week off. Unvaccinated players who have not had COVID in the last 90 days would have been tested daily during the bye.

Love has taken only one game snap since his Nov. 7 start against the Kansas City Chiefs, the game Aaron Rodgers missed while he was on the COVID list. It was a kneel-down play on Nov. 21 against the Vikings, when Rodgers went into the locker room shortly before halftime to get treatment on his toe.

However, Love handled all the starting quarterback practice duties leading up to the Nov. 28 game against the Rams.

Rodgers elected not to have surgery on his toe during the bye week, but coach Matt LaFleur wasn’t ready to say whether Rodgers would practice much, if at all, this week in advance of Sunday night’s game against the Chicago Bears.

“I know he was getting treatment and doing everything he can to be 100 percent,” LaFleur said Monday. “I still think it’s a process like anything, and we’ll see where he’s at this week. Hopefully we can get him out there at practice, but if not, we’ve got a lot of confidence in just his ability to go out there and play at a high level.”

The only other quarterback the Packers have is Kurt Benkert, who is on the practice squad. He, too, was on the COVID list this season, but returned to the team on Nov. 15.

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Las Vegas Raiders RB Kenyan Drake to have season-ending ankle surgery



HENDERSON, Nev. — Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake will travel “in a few days” to undergo season-ending surgery on his broken right ankle in Birmingham, Alabama, Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia said Monday in his weekly news conference.

Drake, who was carted off the field after being tackled and twisted down awkwardly from behind by Washington’s Daniel Wise midway through the second quarter of the Raiders’ 17-15 loss, took to Twitter Sunday night to say that the tackle that injured him “should be an illegal form of tackling like a horse collar.”

Bisaccia said Monday that Drake was frustrated since he suffered a similar injury last season, when he had a high right ankle sprain in Week 7 while playing for the Arizona Cardinals against the Seattle Seahawks. He missed one game with that injury.

“When you look at the play on tape, it did not look intentional,” Bisaccia said. “I think he got himself in a funky body position at the end, when he went to finish … the guy kind of rolled him over, got his ankle caught underneath there.

“Certainly, it ended up being a roll-up position at the end.”

Drake, 27, signed a two-year free-agent contract worth $14.5 million with $11 million guaranteed with the Raiders this offseason. A versatile change-of pace back to complement starter Josh Jacobs, Drake rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 63 carries and caught 29 passes for 283 yards and a TD. He also returned 10 kickoffs for 192 yards for the Raiders.

The Raiders have also lost fullback Alec Ingold for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee and backup running back Jalen Richard was placed on the COVID list the morning of the Washington game.

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