Monday Night Football, Basketball Betting Tips

Chicago QB Jay Cutler is out. San Francisco QB Alex Smith may be too. Expect a defensive display on Monday Night Football.

There’s a big ol’ battle brewing out on the West Coast tonight as the Chicago Bears travel to San Francisco. We already know Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler (concussion) is out, but we’ll have to wait until closer to game time to find out whether his San Francisco counterpart, Alex Smith (concussion), will be absent too.

Monday Night Football closes out Week 11 of the NFL just in time for Thursday’s Thanksgiving festivities and football kicks off.

Meanwhile, the NBA hosts a seven-game slate Monday night headlined by a showdown between early Western Conference frontrunners San Antonio and the L.A. Clippers.

Read on to pick-up a few handy tips that could be the difference between a payout and an empty wallet come Tuesday morning.

 

NFL: Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers

8:30 PM ET

Monday night’s ‘Concussion Bowl’ resonates with serious implications, both in terms of game results and the health of players. Whichever team loses – providing there is a loser; take note San Francisco – will be facing a loss of momentum thanks to last week’s results: a loss for the Bears and a tie for the Niners.

It’s unlikely that Chicago (7-2, 3-1 road) would have been favored heading into this one even if Cutler was taking the field, but the Bears’ defense always ensures there’s a chance. The offense is a different story though.

A victory for San Francisco (6-2-1, 3-1-1 home) will open up some valuable daylight between the Niners and the trailing Seahawks, who are idle this week.

Odds: San Francisco opened as 4½-point favorites but news of Cutler’s absence has increased the spread to seven with some bookmakers. The over/under is a paltry 36½.

Take: San Francisco – Yes the Niners potentially have an advantage with Cutler definitely being out and Smith maybe absent. But forget that. Here’s a reason to bet on the Niners; the Bears have not won in San Francisco since October 13, 1985. Yes, 1985! That period encompasses seven straight losses, and while this sort of record was meant to be broken, don’t expect it this season. Take the Bears to cover the spread in a close game, with the total going under; this could easily end up 14-10 or similar.

 

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks @ Charlotte Bobcats

7:00 PM ET

Let’s be honest, Milwaukee and Charlotte aren’t the first two names you expect to see on a list of intriguing NBA match-ups but welcome to the 2012-13 NBA season.

The Bucks (6-2, 3-0 road) are actually one of the Eastern Conference’s frontrunners so far this season, leading the Central Division and one of only six teams with a winning record in the East.

The Bobcats (4-4, 3-2 home) meanwhile are one victory from having a winning record in a season that has looked, well, not terrible so far this season. They’ve beaten the Pacers, Mavericks and T’Wolves, so it’s not all about beating up on the Wizards – they’ve done that too – so there’s a little hope floating around North Carolina.

Odds: The Bucks are a rare road favorite on Monday’s NBA slate, with the spread at 3½ in Milwaukee’s favor. The over/under is 193½.

Take: Milwaukee – Expect Monta Ellis and the Bucks to take their unbeaten road streak with them to Miami on Wednesday, whilst covering the spread in this one. Take the under on the total; while the Bucks are high-scorers (5th in the league), the Cats won’t keep their end of the scoring bargain.

 

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers @ San Antonio Spurs

8:30 PM ET

After an impressive start to the season, the Los Angeles Clippers (7-2, 2-0 road) faces a first tough road trip of the season, a four-gamer that commences in San Antonio (8-2, 4-1 home).

The Clippers knocked off the Spurs at Staples two weeks ago so there’ll be a waft of revenge in the air. The Spurs lost a close game to New York on Thursday before bouncing back on Saturday against the Jekyll and Hyde-like Nuggets.

Odds: The hometown Spurs are favorites (-5) with the over/under at 199½.

Take: San Antonio Spurs – Five wins on the bounce for the Clippers, including victories over the Spurs, Heat and Bulls, would suggest that an upset here wouldn’t be the biggest surprise, but San Antonio is a tough place to go and get a win (the Spurs had the league’s best home record last year). Expect this to be close though, with the Clippers covering the spread, while the total goes under.

 

Remaining NBA Fixtures (Favorites highlighted)

Indiana @ Washington | Orlando @ Atlanta | Denver @ Memphis | Golden State @ Dallas | Houston @ Utah

Monday Night Football (and Basketball) Tips

Michael Vick and Andy Reid are both in the firing line as Philadelphia visits New Orleans on Monday Night Football.

For the first time this season sports fan will have the choice of football or basketball on a Monday night when they get home and switch on their television sets tonight.

Of course, die hard football fans won’t want to miss a minute of Monday Night Football while fans of the round ball have an eight game slate to choose from, meaning there’s betting a plenty for everybody tonight.

 

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints

(8:30 PM ET)

When a Monday Night Football game features teams with a combined 5-9 record you might first ask what the schedule makers were thinking before deserting football in favor of something altogether different.

This week’s match-up between Philadelphia (3-4, 1-2 road) and New Orleans (2-5, 1-2 home) however is must-see TV, despite those hideous records.

Three early wins for the Eagles have been followed by four losses, and questions as to whether Andy Reid should still be in a job. The Saints meanwhile stunk the joint out to start the season, before coupling together a pair of wins. Last week’s primetime loss to Denver suggested that the Saints hadn’t yet turned the corner.

Both teams need a win tonight. Desperately need a win. New Orleans to have any hope of remaining in the postseason picture – those fingertips are slipping away quicker and quicker – and Philadelphia to avoid any more questions about Reid and Michael Vick’s suitability.

Odds: The Saints opened as 1½-point favorites and have seen that stock rise to three-points. The over/under is 52.

Take: New Orleans – Despite a setback last week, the Saints have had more to be pleased with over recent weeks than the Eagles, who look intently focused on having a disastrous season. The Saints are at home which could play a huge factor here, while Philadelphia has only won one of the last three meetings. Take the Saints to cover the short spread, with the total going over.

 

NBA: New York Knicks @ Philadelphia 76ers

(7 PM ET)

New York (2-0, 0-0 road) travels to Philadelphia (1-1, 1-0 home) for the second part of a home-and-home series with the Sixers. The Knicks took Sunday night’s game 100-84.

Both teams will be looking to assert themselves in the Atlantic Division, which looks as though it could be one of the toughest divisions in basketball this season. Only Toronto appears to be a flop.

Odds: New York’s victory over the Sixers last night hasn’t transferred to tonight’s odds. The Knicks are underdogs (+4) on the road. The over/under is 189½.

Take: Philadelphia – Away from the emotions of the Big Apple, it’ll be interesting how the Knicks fare. The chances are they’ll be a letdown of sorts. The Sixers will take advantage and narrowly cover the spread in a close game. Take the under on the total.

 

NBA: Indiana Pacers @ San Antonio Spurs

(8:30 PM ET)

Indiana (2-1, 1-1 road) travels to San Antonio (3-0, 2-0 home) with the tough task of beating the undefeated Spurs. The Pacers have yet to find true form and will hope a big game against Tim Duncan and the Spurs will be the catalyst to take charge of the Central Division.

San Antonio will look to improve to 4-0, putting the Lakers and Thunder further behind in the rearview mirror, something few experts predicted preseason.

Odds: Indiana enters the AT&T Center as underdogs (+6½) against the undefeated Spurs. The over/under is 194½.

Take: San Antonio – The Spurs have never started a season 4-0, an  unbelievable trend considering the team has won 50-plus games 13 years running. It’s time for history to be made. Take the Spurs to cover the spread and the under to go under.

 

NBA: Golden State Warriors @ Sacramento Kings

(10 PM ET)

Let’s be honest, a match-up between Golden State (2-1, 2-0 road) and Sacramento (0-3, 0-0 home) rarely makes your radar, unless you live in Northern California of course. But this game has a number of advantages going for it.

Firstly, if the Saints-Eagles game is a blowout, you can switch channels and catch the game, indulging in some in-game betting if you so desire. Secondly, there will be precisely zero defense played in this one which should at least be interesting. Thirdly, the Warriors might not suck this season, and an early encounter with perennial doormat Sacramento should give us some idea of what to expect from Mark Jackson’s side this year.

Odds: The Kings are favorites (-3) in the home opener at renamed Sleep Train Arena. The over/under is 202½.

Take: Golden State – The Kings (along with the Wizards) look set to be this season’s long losing streak side. It’ll probably be 10 games in before the team gets a ‘W’. Take the over as these two sides should light-up the scoreboard.

 

Remaining NBA Fixtures (Favorites highlighted)

Minnesota @ Brooklyn | Phoenix @ Miami | Utah @ Memphis | Portland @ Dallas | Cleveland @ LA Clippers

Niners Visit Cardinals on Monday Night Football

Frank Gore and the San Francisco 49ers will look to run their way to victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football.

Sunday saw the New England Patriots defeat the St. Louis Rams in the NFL’s annual International Series game at London’s Wembley Stadium. Monday Night Football sees a clash between the two teams that kick started that series back in 2005.

Whilst the Niners clash with the Cardinals in 2005 game might not have taken place in London – it was in Mexico City – the success that it brought propelled the NFL into a marketing frenzy, taking its product overseas and making it truly global.

This Monday night’s game might not come with the expectation of 103,467 fans – Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca was heaving that night – and the league’s top brass, but make no mistakes, this could be a big game.

 

Keep On Rolling

San Francisco (5-2, 2-1 road) travels to the desert as the number one team in the NFC West, something nobody would have doubted this past summer.

Arizona (4-3, 3-1 home) opened the season winning four straight and looking like this season’s surprise package. A three-game losing skid has put paid to such thoughts, and potentially leaves the Cardinals staring into a losing abyss, not to mention in dire need of a win.

San Francisco’s success has come as a result of a very simple formula: running the football and strong defense wins games.

The Niners have the best running game in the league, averaging 176.6 yards per game on the ground. Lead running back Frank Gore is accounting for 85.9 of those yards, proving the Niners are no one-trick-pony. Kendall Hunter has contributed 36.9 per game, while the QB tandem of Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick account for 39.8 yards per game. With such a prolific running game, it’s not that surprising that the Niners rank 28th in passing (199.9 YPG).

On the defensive side of the football, San Francisco is a beast. Number one against the pass (173.4 YPG) and in total yards against (272.3 YPG), and number two in points conceded (14.3 PPG), the 49ers weakness is its rush defense, which still ranks 10th in the league (98.9 YPG). Points and yards will be at a premium for the Cardinals.

That being said, the Niners could come up against a potential roadblock at the University of Arizona Stadium. The Cardinals give up just 312.1 yards per game (7th) and 16.9 points per game (4th), numbers that suggest a strong defensive presence. However, those numbers are skewed in favor of the passing game – the Cardinals are fourth in the league at stopping the pass – and there are definite weaknesses against the run. Arizona gives up an average of 120.9 rushing yards per game (21st), which means San Francisco should be able to keep on rolling.

 

Looking for an Edge

San Francisco leads the all-time head-to-head 24-17, a rivalry that dates all the way back to 1951 when the Cardinals were based in Chicago. The Niners have had the recent edge, going 7-3 in the last 10. Last time out (December 2011) though, the Cardinals beat their division rivals 21-19, snapping a five-game losing streak.

San Francisco will be favorites entering the game. The spread opened at four points but has subsequently risen to seven.

The 49ers are 4-3 ATS this season. Dating back to last season, the team also has a 2-5 ATS record on the road. Arizona is 3-4 ATS this season, giving bettors a real conundrum when it comes to putting a stake on the pointspread.

The over/under opened at 37 and has risen to 38½ ahead of game time. The total has gone under in four of seven Niners games this season, as well as six of seven Cardinals games. That means the smart money will be on the under in this one.

Monday Night Football Sees San Diego Host Denver

Norv Turner, Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers have had Denver's number over recent years. Will the arrival of Peyton Manning signify a change in fortune for the Broncos?

Monday Night Football sees a big divisional showdown between Denver and San Diego. While the AFC West continues to baffle and bewilder, a victory for either side tonight could go a long way to shining some light on the division’s future.

With Peyton Manning leading the helm this season, the Broncos (2-3, 0-2 road) have spluttered a few times this year, but offensively look much improved on last season. San Diego (3-2, 1-1 home) meanwhile lost a tough one last week in New Orleans but has generally impressed early on.

Picking a winner from this one is a tough ask.

High Profile QBs Doing Their Thing

The question leading into the season was whether or not Peyton Manning would be the Peyton Manning of old. So far, while the veteran QB has had a solid season, he’s not quite reached the standards of old. He might not be far off though.

In five games this year, Manning has completed 66 percent of his passes, amassing 1,499 yards and 11 touchdowns, with only three interceptions. That’s just shy of 300 yards per game, and a passer rating of 101.2 (fourth best in the league).

Philip Rivers – perhaps the most demonstrative quarterback you’re likely to see take the field – hasn’t posted numbers as good as Manning, but he’s hardly slouching. He’s thrown for 1,251 yards (250 per game) and eight touchdowns. His five picks are a blemish, but his pass completion rate of 67.9 percent is stellar.

Put the two together and you have the potential for a Southern California shootout, although the bright sunshine will be replaced by the even brighter lights of Qualcomm Stadium at night.

Statistically Speaking

Offensively, Denver’s strength has come in the passing game. Averaging 287 yards per game, the Broncos are fifth in the league in passing. However, it should be taken into consideration that Manning has found himself in game situations which require him to throw the ball. Take last week’s game against New England for example. The Patriots tore up the ground rushing to a big lead, leaving Manning to try and execute an aerial come back.

Behind Rivers, San Diego’s passing attack is somewhere in the middle of the pack. Averaging 231 yards per game (19th), it’s hard to think of the Chargers as a premier aerial team, but on any given day, Rivers can accumulate yards.

Denver’s running game is averaging 101 yards (17th), while San Diego is averaging 103 yards (16th). Willis McGahee and Ryan Matthews could be called upon a lot on Monday night. Denver may be wary of running the ball though; San Diego currently has the fifth best rush defense in the league, giving up just 74 yards per game.

Conversely, Denver has given up 120 rushing yards per game (21st), but the Broncos’ passing defense has outshone San Diego’s. Denver is giving up 215 yards through the air (11th) compared to San Diego’s 260 (20th).

Put all of this together and you have two defenses that are virtually inseparable. Denver is conceding 335 yards, San Diego 334.

Looking for an Edge

This classic AFC West rivalry dates back to 1960 when the Chargers could be found in Los Angeles and the Broncos played in Bears Stadium (later to be renamed Mile High Stadium). In the 52 years that have passed since that first game, the two rivals have kept things close. Denver holds a slight lead in the all-time head-to-head, which stands at 55-48-1.

Denver won last time around (last November at Qualcomm Stadium) by a field goal, a win that snapped a four-game losing streak against the Chargers.

San Diego has had bragging rights over recent years, going 9-3 over the last 12, a period that coincides with Philip Rivers’ starting for the Bolts.

San Diego enters the game as favorites, just. The spread opened at three-points but has subsequently dropped to one-point ahead of kickoff.

If you’re looking at the spread, San Diego is 3-2 ATS this season while Denver is 2-3 ATS. The Broncos are actually 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games, and 1-4 ATS in the last five road games.

Those considering the over/under, which stands at 48 on Monday night, the total has gone OVER in four of the last six Charger games, but UNDER in 11 of 14 at Qualcomm. The total has gone OVER on five of the last seven Broncos games outright.

Finally, need a little extra info to make your decision? Here’s one last tidbit. The two sides have met four times on Monday Night Football (1979, 2007, 2009, 2010). San Diego has won three of those games, with the average score across the series 28-14 in the Chargers’ favor.

Monday Night Football and MLB Postseason Should Keep You Busy

Andy Pettitte takes to the mound for the first time in the postseason since losing Game 3 of the ALCS in 2010.

 

Indianapolis, Miami, Seattle, and St. Louis were all underdog winners in Week 5 of the NFL and the New York Jets will be hoping to join them as they host Houston on Monday Night Football. The matchup will bring this week’s NFL action to a close before Thursday Night Football sees Pittsburgh travel to Tennessee.

Football’s not the only big time action tonight either. The divisional round of the MLB postseason continues with two pivotal matchups, one either side of the NL/AL divide. First, the Cardinals host the Nationals before the Yankees visit Baltimore.

Put simply, there’s enough betting action tonight to keep you off the streets.

 

NFL: Houston Texans @ New York Jets

8:30 PM ET

Houston New York. We have a problem.

With news that Santonio Holmes is on the shelf for the rest of the year, the green side of New York is panicking. The Jets (2-2, 1-1 home) are under-manned with the ‘Best Team in Football’ coming to town for tonight’s edition of Monday Night Football.

Houston (4-0, 2-0 road) has looked sharp both offensively and defensively this season on the way to an unbeaten record through four weeks of play. The Texans will be a wildly popular choice to join the Atlanta Falcons as the only 5-0 teams in the league.

The miserable Jets have shown very few signs of life since a surprising Week 1 demolition job on Buffalo, with last week’s 34-0 shutout by San Francisco proving the icing on a very unsavory, not to mention ugly, cake. Sure, San Francisco looks like one of the league’s best, but how does a team tally exactly zero points at home?

History favors the Jets, who are 5-0 all-time against the Texans, but common sense declares bettors must stay away from the Jets.

Odds: Houston is favorite (-9) heading into the game with the under/over at 41 points.

Take: Houston. If there’s a lifeline for the Jets, it’s very well hidden. Houston will have few problems against a weakened Jets team, and will beat the spread for the fifth time this season. The total may well go under – as is common with both of these sides of late – but if it goes over it’ll be down to Houston racking up the points.

 

MLB: Washington Nationals @ St. Louis Cardinals (WAS leads series 1-0)

4:30 PM ET

Pitching matchup: Jordan Zimmerman (12-8, 2.98 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (7-7, 3.92 ERA)

The Nationals made hard work of their first postseason game since moving south from Montreal, narrowly picking off St. Louis 3-2 on Sunday night.

It took some eighth inning heroics from rookie Tyler Moore to fend off the Cardinals, who were flying high on Friday’s stunning upset of the Atlanta Braves in the Wild Card round.

Jordan Zimmerman takes the mound for the Nationals, hoping to propel the team to a 2-0 series lead before heading back to Washington for the Capital’s first postseason baseball game since 1933. He has the advantage on paper over St. Louis’ Jaime Garcia but paper means exactly squat at this time of the season.

For the Nationals to be successful they’ll need to have better offensive performances from the likes of Jayson Werth. For St. Louis, more of the same will suffice.

Take: Washington. When a team gets away with a narrow victory – as Washington did last night – it tends to generate a little extra impetus to do better next time out. St. Louis needs to regroup after being ‘so close’.

 

MLB: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles (NYY leads series 1-0)

8:00 PM ET

Pitching matchup: Andy Pettitte (5-4, 2.87 ERA) vs. Wei-Yin Chen (12-11, 4.02 ERA)

Baltimore’s bullpen has been instrumental in the Orioles making the postseason for the first time in 15 years. It’s ironic then that it was the bullpen that lost Sunday night’s series opener.

That bullpen could be vital again tonight as Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen averages just six innings per start. Six innings this time round will lead to some nervous jitters for sure. The Orioles though will be buoyed by the knowledge that when Chen pitches on six days rest – as he will do on Monday – his ERA drops to 2.28.

Andy Pettitte finds himself as the number two man in the rotation for the first time this year. The Yankees will be hoping that the veteran is more than just a good omen.

New York has played well at Camden Yards all season (6-3) and will be confident that those ninth inning hot bats will follow through to Monday night’s game.

Take: New York. The Yankees have much more to prove than the Orioles this season, and it started well last night. Now the trick for the Orioles will be going into Yankee Stadium and picking up wins. That might not be as daunting a task as you think: the Orioles are 6-3 at the Stadium this season.

Monday Night Football Sees Dallas Host Chicago

Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys host Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears in an important matchup for both sides.

The Week 4 edition of Monday Night Football comes live from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as the Dallas Cowboys (2-1, 1-0 home) host the Chicago Bears (2-1, 0-1 road).

Both teams have had somewhat tepid starts to the season and will be looking for a victory to really kick start the season. For bettors, the matchup presents an intriguing clash of two teams difficult to separate.

Mirror Images

For Dallas and Chicago, the 2012 season has brought much comparison. In terms of record, the two are even whilst both feature quarterbacks under the microscope and teams that have yet to really set out a stall.

In Week 1, Dallas upset the New York Giants, earning a 24-17 victory on the opening Wednesday of the season. Chicago opened its season with a win over the Indianapolis Colts and the debuting Andrew Luck.

In Week 2, Dallas was upset by Seattle. Not only were the Cowboys upset, they were embarrassed, succumbing to a 27-7 loss. Meanwhile, Chicago lost its Thursday Night Football showdown with the Green Bay Packers, effectively being played off the field.

In Week 3, Dallas manufactured a tough 16-10 win over Tampa Bay on what was essentially an impressive defensive outing. Chicago defeated St. Louis 23-6 but didn’t look as dominant as the scoreline would suggest.

Now the two teams meet on Monday night, both considered underachievers despite winning records.

Statistically Speaking

The game figures to be a defensive battle with both teams ranking inside the NFL’s top five defenses. Dallas leads the league only giving up 250 yards per game, while Chicago has limited opponents to 279 yards (5th).

The Cowboys have been particularly effective against the pass, conceding just 137 yards per game. Chicago is more effective against the run, conceding just 76 yards on the ground compared to the Cowboys’ 113.

That’s bad news for DeMarco Murray (DAL), who has been stifled the past two games after beating the 100-yard mark against New York in Week 1. It could be good news for Michael Bush (CHI) who has had an impressive start to the season. Matt Forte (CHI) is listed as questionable with an ankle injury that kept him out of last week’s game against St. Louis.

Offensively, both teams have been somewhat limited. Dallas is averaging 342 yards (19th) while Chicago is averaging 290 (26th). Neither team will be particularly happy with those numbers. Alarmingly, the Cowboys are only averaging 15.7 points per game, an anemic number that would suggest the team should be worse off than 2-1. That’s another reason to expect a defensive affair on Monday night.

Looking for an Edge

Dallas leads Chicago 13-9 in all-time in head-to-head contests, including two playoff victories. Dallas has won five of the last eight meetings, but the Bears took a 27-20 win in the last meeting (September 2010) between the pair.

The spread for this game opened at three (in favor of the Cowboys) and has extended to 3½. Bettors looking for an edge might want to consider the following: Dallas is 1-2 ATS this season including 0-1 at home and 0-2 as favorites. Advantage Bears? Maybe not. Chicago is 2-1 ATS this season but is 0-1 away and 0-1 as underdog. Something has to give.

The total has gone under in the Cowboys’ last five games, so the smart money is on taking the under on 42½ points. Bettors in the know have already seen that figure drop from 45 at opening.

As to who is likely to come out on top of this one, it’s really anybody’s pick. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine either side coming out with the win. Even if Chicago were to pull off an upset win, would it be all that much of an upset? Not really.

Ultimately, for players, coaches, fans and bettors alike, the one outcome everybody’s looking to avoid is another controversial finish like last Monday night.

Monday Night Football Vs. Baseball Contenders

 

Monday night means one thing: Monday Night Football. Actually, check that. This week it means two things: MNF and the race for baseball’s postseason.

With just 10 days left of the regular season, Major League Baseball is beginning to heat up. Monday sees plenty of contenders looking to secure a spot. Meanwhile, the NFL Monday night game features an intriguing – if not all that fan-friendly – matchup between Green Bay and Seattle. Settle in with the remote and get ready to flick between the action.

NFL: Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks

(8:30 PM ET)

Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football.

Green Bay (1-1, 0-0 road) heads to the rowdy confines of CenturyLink Field for a showdown with Seattle (1-1, 1-0 home) that will hopefully go some way to clearing up what each team is about this season.

The Packers spluttered in their season-opener against San Francisco before showing an improved performance against the Chicago Bears. Seattle lost a close one in Arizona and then thumped Dallas in the Pacific Northwest. Will the real Packers and Seahawks please stand up?

Green Bay enters the game as 3-point favorites, a number that has dwindled from the opening -6 odds.

In years gone by, this fixture would have been considered just about a dead cert for the Pack. Green Bay is 10-5 all-time against the Seahawks, including seven wins in the last nine. The last time the two teams met, the Packers won 48-10.

Seattle hasn’t beaten Green Bay since November 2006.

Green Bay is 2-2 all-time in visits to Seattle.

But that dominance could be lacking this season as the Packers struggle to find their feet. Aaron Rodgers (522 yards, 3 TDs, 68 percent completion rate) hasn’t quite looked like Aaron Rodgers and the team hasn’t looked sharp around him, especially in the running game. The Packers are averaging just 75.5 yards per game.

Seattle has no such problems running the football. Marshawn Lynch has averaged more than 100 yards per game while the team has averaged 148.5. Meanwhile, rookie QB Russell Wilson has been steady if not stunning, which is exactly what the ’hawks needed.

Having had four days extra to prepare, the advantage still sits with Green Bay, but the eight (yes, eight!) upsets on Sunday’s schedule makes you wonder if it’s not worth taking the Seahawks in this one.

It’s a tough choice, but Green Bay still looks like a good pick. Take the Pack to win this one outright and to beat the spread. With the over/under set at 44 points, take the over. This could turn out to be the shootout we’ve been waiting for from Green Bay.

If you’re looking for some side action, take Aaron Rodgers (at -125) to go over 299½ yards and Marshawn Lynch (at -135) to break 92½ yards rushing.

 

MLB: Kansas City Royals @ Detroit Tigers / Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox

7:05 PM ET / 8:10 PM ET

In the race for the AL Central title – and the postseason berth that comes alongside it – Detroit and Chicago are both in action tonight.

With just one game separating the two, Detroit (80-72, 46-31 home) will be looking to defeat Kansas City (70-82, 34-40 road) whilst hoping Chicago (81-71, 43-31 home) drops a game to Cleveland (63-90, 29-49 road).

Both teams have had the better of their opposition this season, with the Tigers holding a 7-4 edge over the Royals, and the Sox besting Cleveland 8-4 so far.

Justin Verlander (15-8, 2.74 ERA) goes for Detroit whilst Chris Sale (17-7, 2.82 ERA) takes the mound at ‘The Cell’. Unsurprisingly, both are favorites.

If you’re looking to bet on this, go with both home teams. There might not be a lot of glory involved, but a smart bet is a smart bet. Then take Detroit to edge out Chicago for the division title at the start of next week.

 

MLB: Baltimore Orioles @ Toronto Blue Jays

4:05 PM ET / 7:05 PM ET

Baltimore (87-65, 45-33 road) remains one-game back of the Yankees for first place in the AL East after both teams fell on Sunday afternoon.

The Orioles now face a four-game set north of the border, starting with a doubleheader on Monday. Toronto (66-85, 36-38 home) is long gone from postseason reckoning but will be looking to play spoiler this week, first against Baltimore then the Yankees. The Jays would also like to leapfrog Boston and get off of the bottom of the division.

Game 1 sees Henderson Alvarez (9-13, 4.87 ERA) go up against Baltimore rookie Steve Johnson (3-0, 1.91 ERA). Game 2 pits Ricky Romero (8-14, 5.72 ERA) against Wi-Yin Chin (12-9, 3.98 ERA). Expect a split of the doubleheader, with Baltimore taking the second game. Unless Game 1 goes to extras; then take Baltimore who appears to be unbeatable after the ninth.

Monday Night Football Doubleheader Closes NFL’s Week 1

 

After Dallas’ upset of the Giants on Wednesday night, Sunday saw the new NFL season kickoff for real with a 13-game slate.

Kickoff was accompanied by three additional upsets, with Washington, San Francisco and Tampa Bay all proving oddsmakers wrong.

San Francisco’s 30-22 victory in Green Bay was perhaps the most impressive of all. The Niners entered the game +5 dogs and still managed to do what so few teams achieve: win at Lambeau Field. Washington’s win over New Orleans, on the back of an impress debut from Heisman award winner Robert Griffin III, was the biggest surprise, eclipsing a +9 point spread. Meanwhile, Tampa edged out Carolina in what was always going to be a tight game.

Week 1’s not over yet, either. Monday Night Football returns tonight with a doubleheader, starting in Baltimore (7PM ET) before moving on to Oakland (10:15 PM ET). Both games are early divisional contests, meaning everything’s to play for from the first whistle. That means plenty of opportunities to make a few more bets before the focus shifts to Week 2.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens

Losing Terrell Suggs for the season has cast a shadow of doubt over Baltimore's defense this season.

The Bengals arrive in Baltimore as +7 underdogs. While most point spreads have been fairly close this weekend, the one touchdown difference in this game stems not only from the expected ‘rustiness’ of teams in Week 1, but also from Cincinnati’s surprising 2011 season as well as the uncertainties surrounding the Ravens defense following the loss of Terrell Suggs for the season.

Baltimore’s strength has always been defense. Last season the Ravens were second in the league against the rush and fourth against the pass. Losing Suggs as a prominent pass-rusher and run-stopper could be a major turning point.

Cincinnati is no slouch on the defensive side of the football either. The Bengals ranked in the top ten in points allowed, pass defense and stopping the run. As with any AFC North battle then, you can expect this one to be a pound-and-ground type of game. The over/under sits at 41 ½. The pair combined for an average of 45 points-per-game last season, so factoring in rustiness on the offensive side of the ball and tough defensive talents, this figure is unlikely to be breached. Take the under then.

Whilst some favor the Bengals over the Ravens this season, Baltimore has the edge in the opener. A raucous crowd will fill M&T Bank Stadium, making it difficult for the Bengals offense. The Ravens will also be playing in honor of Art Modell, the team’s former owner, who passed away last week. Emotions will run high, but Baltimore will take a close game.

San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders

San Diego's Philip Rivers will be hoping to rebound from a sub par season in 2011.

The second installment of Monday’s doubleheader will see San Diego make the trip up the Californian coast to Oakland.

Both teams finished 2011 with an 8-8 record, which was good enough for a three-way tie with Denver. Neither looked particularly appealing throughout the year.

2012 starts with both Philip Rivers and Carson Palmer looking to rebound from subpar seasons. Rivers threw a career-high 20 interceptions to go alongside 27 touchdowns. Throughout his career, Rivers has generally thrown an interception every five quarters, so last season’s tally is practically astronomical. Palmer meanwhile ended up in Oakland after demanding a move from Cincinnati. In 10 games, Palmer threw 13 touchdowns and 16 picks. Again, these numbers were a mile away from what we’re used to seeing. Both will hope a fresh start clears up that matter.

Oakland enters the game as -1 favorite. You might think the narrow lead comes from home field advantage but the Raiders were 3-5 at home last season, a record mirrored by the Chargers road record. Somewhat fittingly, both won their respective road fixtures in the head-to-head last season.

Take the Chargers in this one. Rivers needs to prove himself more than Palmer, while the Raiders look like they could be propping the division up come January. The over/under is 47 points. Whilst these two teams are offensive minded and pretty lax on defense, it’s a little too early for both teams to rack up the points, so take the under.