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NFL betting market watch – Winter weather coming, Patriots-Bills total dropping

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Winter weather is in the forecast for the Patriots-Bills showdown in Buffalo on Monday Night Football.

Midweek forecasts were calling for temperatures to drop into the upper-20s with winds gusting 15-25 mph, according to Weather.com. Stronger winds from 20 to 30 mph, along with rain and snow, are expected throughout the day.

The point spread and total on the game have been dropping this week. In early lines up last week, the Bills were listed as 4.5-point favorites with the total at 46. As of Wednesday, the line had dipped below three points at multiple sportsbooks and the total was down to 43.5. Caesars Sportsbook reported Wednesday that 84% of the early money bet on the total was on the under.

Here is this week’s look at the lines and betting action:


NFL market watch

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 reopened Sunday night.

Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints (Thursday)

Last week’s look-ahead line: Cowboys -5, 48
Sunday: Cowboys -5.5, 47.5
Wednesday: Cowboys -4.5, 47.5
Spread action: 71% of bets and 58% of money wagered is on the Cowboys.
Total action: 52% of the bets and 53% of the money wagered is on the over.

Notes: Dallas will be without head coach Mike McCarthy and several members of the coaching staff due to COVID protocols. … ESPN’s Ed Werder reported Wednesday that Cowboys WR Amari Cooper is expected to play Thursday.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets

Last week’s look-ahead line: Eagles -6.5, 45
Sunday: Eagles -7, 46
Wednesday: Eagles -6.5, 45
Spread action: 67% of bets and 67% of money wagered is on the Eagles.
Total action: 74% of the bets are on the under, but 78% of the money wagered is on the over.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Last week’s look-ahead line: Buccaneers -9.5, 50.5
Sunday: Buccaneers -10, 50
Wednesday: Buccaneers -11, 50.5
Spread action: 55% of bets and 88% of money wagered is on the Falcons.
Total action: 51% of the bets and 54% of the money wagered is on the under.

Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears

Last week’s look-ahead line: Cardinals -7, 46.5
Sunday: Cardinals -7, 46
Wednesday: Cardinals -8, 45.5
Spread action: 79% of bets are on the Cardinals, but 80% of the money wagered is on the Bears.
Total action: 68% of the bets and 89% of the money wagered is on the under.

Notes: Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the upper 30s, light rain and 13-mph winds.

Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals

Last week’s look-ahead line: Bengals -1.5, 48
Sunday: Bengals -2.5, 51
Wednesday: Bengals -3 (-120), 50.5
Spread action: 71% of bets are on the Bengals, but 52% of the money wagered is on the Chargers.
Total action: 62% of the bets are on the over, but 80% of the money wagered is on the under.

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

Last week’s look-ahead line: Vikings -7.5, 48
Sunday: Vikings -7, 48
Wednesday: Vikings -7, 46.5
Spread action: 63% of bets and 67% of money wagered is on the Vikings.
Total action: 81% of the bets and 97% of the money wagered is on the under.

New York Giants at Miami Dolphins

Last week’s look-ahead line: Dolphins -2. 43.5
Sunday: Dolphins -2.5, 42.5
Wednesday: Dolphins -3, 42
Spread action: 74% of the bets and 94% of the money wagered is on the Dolphins.
Total action: 50% of the bets and 87% of the money wagered is on the under.

Notes: Giants QB Daniel Jones is uncertain for Sunday’s game because of a strained neck.

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Last week’s look-ahead line: Colts -7, 46.5
Sunday: Colts -7.5, 46
Wednesday: Colts -9, 46
Spread action: 85% of the bets and 97% of the money wagered is on the Colts.
Total action: 62% of the bets and 91% of the money wagered is on the under.

Washington Football Team at Las Vegas Raiders

Last week’s look-ahead line: Raiders -1.5, 48
Sunday: Raiders -2.5, 49
Wednesday: Raiders -2.5, 49.5
Spread action: 80% of the bets and 72% of the money wagered is on the Raiders.
Total action: 62% of the bets are on the under, but 56% of the money wagered is on the over.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Rams

Last week’s look-ahead line: Rams -12, 48
Sunday: Rams -13.5, 44.5
Wednesday: Rams -13, 48
Spread action: 63% of bets and 86% of the money wagered is on the Rams.
Total action: 85% of the bets and 98% of the money wagered is on the under.

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

Last week’s look-ahead line: Ravens -3, 44.5
Sunday: Ravens -3.5, 44.5
Wednesday: Ravens -4.5, 44
Spread action: 64% of the bets and 54% of the money wagered is on the Ravens.
Total action: 69% of the bets and 91% of the money wagered is on the under.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Last week’s look-ahead line: Pick ’em, 46
Sunday: 49ers -2.5, 46.5
Wednesday: 49ers -3 (-120), 45.5
Spread action: 85% of the bets and 66% of the money wagered is on the 49ers.
Total action: 76% of the bets and 74% of the money wagered is on the under.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs

Last week’s look-ahead line: Chiefs -9.5, 49.5
Sunday: Chiefs -10, 49
Wednesday: Chiefs -10, 47
Spread action: 72% of the bets and 50% of the money wagered is on the Chiefs.
Total action: 79% of the bets and 78% of the money wagered is on the under.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (Monday)

Last week’s look-ahead line: Bills -3.5, 46
Sunday: Bills -3, 45
Wednesday: Bills -2.5, 44
Spread action: 69% of the bets are on the Patriots, but 66% of the money wagered is on the Bills.
Total action: 58% of the bets and 84% of the money wagered is on the under.

Notes: The Patriots have covered the spread in six consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL. New England is 35-20-1 against the spread as a road underdog under coach Bill Belichick.

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Los Angeles Rams’ Matthew Stafford says toe feeling fine ahead of playoff game vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford doesn’t expect his injured toe to be a factor in Sunday’s divisional-round game against the Buccaneers in Tampa, Florida.

Stafford suffered the injury in the Rams’ regular-season finale against the San Francisco 49ers, a 27-24 overtime loss.

“I’m feeling OK,” Stafford said Wednesday. “The toe kind of happened in that game and that was kind of a real thing, but I got a bunch of treatment on it. I’m feeling a lot better. So I don’t see anything limiting me in this game.”

Coach Sean McVay said one of the reasons he tried to put the 49ers away with their run game near the end of regulation was because Stafford was hobbled. He said Stafford had “no limitations” Monday night against the Arizona Cardinals as the Rams leaned on their run game for much of their 34-11 wild-card victory.

Stafford was 13-of-17 passing, both easily season lows, for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also ran for a score in the first playoff victory of his 13-year NFL career.

“He felt good,” McVay said. “Everything was up and available to be called. He was feeling great.”

The Rams are uncertain about the statuses of left tackle Andrew Whitworth and safety Taylor Rapp for Sunday’s game.

Whitworth, 40, got his right knee rolled up on during the Rams’ opening play against Arizona. He played 30 of the team’s 60 offensive snaps before Joe Noteboom replaced him for the remainder of the game.

McVay said tests results haven’t indicated that the Rams need to rule Whitworth out yet. He’d be a nonparticipant if the Rams were practicing Wednesday, per McVay.

“He’s got some swelling in that knee and that ankle,” McVay said. “It’s a miracle. He’s like Gumby with the way that he got rolled up on. It was not a good looking play when you watch it on the replay. But he’s a resilient guy. He responds quickly. He’s been a quick healer. For him to be able to play and start at tackle at the age of 40 tells you everything you need to know about how blessed he is with his genetics and the way he takes care of himself.

“But we’ll see how quickly he can turn around. Not sure whether he’ll be able to go or not this week. We’ll take it a day at a time. Fortunately his scans gave us some information where we didn’t have to rule him out.”

Whitworth ranked third during the regular season in ESPN’s Pass Block Win Rate among offensive tackles.

Rapp, who missed the Cardinals game, remains in concussion protocol. His absence and Jordan Fuller‘s season-ending ankle injury prompted the Rams to bring 37-year-old Eric Weddle out of his two-year retirement last week to pad their safety depth. He played 19 of 56 defensive snaps while Nick Scott and Terrell Burgess started.

“With Rapp, we’re just taking that a day at a time,” McVay said. “The concussion protocol and kind of going through those strategic steps and making sure that when you are active, you’re not having any symptoms. Those are the things we’re working through right now and I know Taylor’s going to do everything in his power to be ready if he can.”

Cornerback David Long Jr. (knee) is “doing good,” per McVay. He returned one of the Rams’ two interceptions of Kyler Murray for a touchdown Monday night. McVay said backup running back Buddy Howell (hamstring) also would have been a nonparticipant Wednesday and that “everybody else would be in good shape” if the team was practicing.

McVay expects the Rams to designate linebacker Ernest Jones to return to practice from injured reserve on Thursday, thereby starting his 21-day window to be activated to the 53-man roster.

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Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield has shoulder surgery, eyes return to ‘my true self’

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield says he is on track to getting “back to my true self” after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

Dr. Orr Limpisvasti, the orthopedic surgeon for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, performed the surgery on Mayfield’s left shoulder in California.

“Surgery went great. Was a complete success,” Mayfield said in a video posted to social media. “Now it’s on to the road to recovery. It’s one of those steps to get back to my true self. … This is not the end of my story.”

The Browns said the likely time period for Mayfield’s recovery is four to six months. He will start physical therapy on his shoulder next week and is expected to be cleared by training camp, if not sooner, a source told ESPN.

Mayfield, who suffered the shoulder injury in Week 2 and played through it for the rest of the season, will begin light throwing in April and should be able to participate in the off-season program on a limited basis, the team said.

After the Browns’ Week 17 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mayfield admitted that he was “pretty damn beat up.”

With Cleveland already eliminated from playoff contention, Mayfield sat out the team’s season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 9.

Even though Mayfield finished 27th in the league in QBR (35.3) this season, Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry declared last week that the Browns “fully expect” the 2018 No. 1 draft pick to be their starting quarterback in 2022 and “bounce back” from his injury-plagued season.

Mayfield will be entering the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him close to $19 million in 2022 after the Browns exercised his fifth-year option last offseason.



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Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy says he does not see his future with team as an issue

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FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy is operating under business-as-usual conditions after meeting twice with owner and general manager Jerry Jones following Sunday’s wild-card loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

McCarthy met with Jones immediately after the game and again on Monday and does not see his future as an issue.

“We had very positive conversations and, just, the focus is on the evaluation process,” McCarthy said.

Speaking on 105.3 The Fan on Monday, executive vice president Stephen Jones said, “absolutely,” and “very confident,” when asked whether McCarthy would return for a third season.

McCarthy has an 18-15 regular-season record in two seasons, including a 12-5 mark in 2021 that saw the Cowboys win the NFC East; however, they were the only home team to lose in the first round of the playoffs.

After a 13-year run in Green Bay, McCarthy, who has a 143-92-2 regular-season record and 10-9 playoff mark, understands the speculation.

“I think for people in this profession, it’s accepted,” he said. “It’s part of the job. I get that. I understand why you’re asking the question. It’s part of the job. You have a job to do, and I have a job to do here today in answering your questions appropriately and respectfully. But, yeah, I don’t put a lot into it because I know personally what I put into this.

“I understand what goes on here every day. I know how to win. I know how to win in this league. I know how to win playoff games. I know how to win a championship. So I have great confidence in that. What we’ve built here in two seasons, I feel very good about, and I think with that you just stay true to that. The hard part is the personal. We all have kids, so that’s the part that I don’t like. I would hope people are respectful to that.”

McCarthy, who signed a five-year contract with the Cowboys in 2020, acknowledged that the 2022 Cowboys will look a lot different from the 2021 Cowboys. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore have multiple interviews set up for open head-coaching jobs.

McCarthy did not rule out potential changes on the coaching staff whether or not Quinn and Moore stay with the team. The Cowboys have 21 players, including many key contributors, set to become unrestricted free agents, and the team also faces a challenging salary-cap situation.

Yet McCarthy said he has faith things will be better next season.

“No. 1, I trust our personnel process,” McCarthy said. “I think the collaboration [with the personnel department], just what we did last year to this year, I mean, my goodness. The change we had on defense, from a personnel and coaching staff standpoint, that was the biggest change I’ve ever been part of, both the player and coaching side. So to pull all of that together, there was a lot of hard work and a lot of credit that goes to a number of people. I have the same confidence that we’ll do that moving forward. Now, it’s going to be a challenge; I know you can’t keep everybody, but [for] every team, that’s the era that we’re in.

“We’ll go through that and count on another really excellent draft class to go with the two that we have. No, you got to remember, I’ve coached the youngest team in the league for a number of years. I have great belief in that draft and develop. This will probably hopefully be the first year that we can have a normal offseason program, so I think with that, the combination of veteran and young players we have, I think we definitely can take a step forward.”

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