NFL Award Finalists: Burrow, Hurts, Mahomes Among MVP Candidates

NFL Award Finalists: Burrow, Hurts, Mahomes Among MVP Candidates
Finalists for eight of the NFL’s awards were announced on Wednesday, and three of the four starting quarterbacks on Championship Sunday are among the MVP candidates. Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts are finalists for MVP. They join Bills QB Josh Allen and Vikings WR Justin Jefferson as candidates for […]

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Betting

2023 NFL Divisional Round Betting: Odds, Spreads, Picks, Predictions For Sunday’s Slate

We’re on to Sunday, where the Divisional Round will continue with two more high-octane matchups. Below you’ll find a summary for both of those contests, with a link to my in-depth betting previews. Happy betting.

No. 3 Bengals at No. 2 Bills

Weather: Outdoors, chance of snow

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Bills -4
  • This line has moved to Bills -5.5
  • This total opened at 50-points
  • This total has moved to 50.5-points

Bottom Line

Josh Allen’s Bills against Joe Burrow’s Bengals will be among the most high-interest sporting events over the next decade. The premium quarterbacks and high-end skill position players will be on the marquee, but the Bengals’ offensive line is key to this matchup. Cincinnati will almost certainly be down their right guard and both of their offensive tackles.

One of my longstanding football tenets is you can play effective offense with one unreliable offensive tackle, but it’s hard to do it with two. An example of a worst-case scenario for an elite offense in this position is the Chiefs’ Super Bowl against the Buccaneers. Kansas City went into that contest down their two starting offensive tackles, and the Buccaneers’ pass rush derailed that game, holding the Chiefs to nine points.

We saw Burrow lead Cincinnati to the Super Bowl last year behind a below-average offensive line. But ultimately, playing with that kind of positional disadvantage against Allen’s Bills is a major hurdle to climb. I don’t have any major leans in this game, but I bet on Gabe Davis to exceed 100 yards receiving at +520 odds on FanDuel. I also tailed Josh Larky’s Joe Mixon over 23.5 yards receiving prop on DraftKings.

Score Prediction: Bills 24, Bengals 20

No. 5 Cowboys at No. 2 49ers

Weather: Outdoors, no concerns

The Line Report

  • This line opened as 49ers -4
  • This line has moved to 49ers -4.5
  • This total opened at 46-points
  • This total has moved to 46.5-points

 

Bottom Line

Dallas is a difficult opponent for white-hot San Francisco because Micah Parsons could have a major impact both as a pass rusher and in space. Last season when these two teams squared off in the Wild Card round, Parsons played a lot of off-ball linebacker.

Since the 49ers go out of their way to create yards after the catch for their bevy of premium skill position players, it wouldn’t surprise me if Parsons saw more action in space than as a pass rusher in this matchup. San Francisco couldn’t have hoped for more out of Brock Purdy to this point, but the Cowboys are his toughest obstacle to date, primarily because of Parsons.

On the other side of the ball, I’m not banking on Dak Prescott to have a spike game against the best defense in football. However, if Purdy struggles for the first time this season and Prescott plays a clean game against an elite defense, the Cowboys are a live underdog in this matchup.

Score Prediction: 49ers 24, Cowboys 20

WATCH MORE: Divisional Round Betting Breakdown

Betting

NFL Divisional Round Betting: Odds, Spreads, Picks, Predictions for Cowboys vs. 49ers

Cowboys (12-5) at 49ers (13-4)

Opening Spread: 49ers -4

Opening Game Total: 46

Opening Team Totals: 49ers (25) Cowboys (21)

Weather: Outdoors, no concerns

The Line Report

  • This line opened as 49ers -4
  • This line has moved to 49ers -4.5
  • This total opened at 46-points
  • This total has moved to 46.5-points

Notable Injuries

49ers: Questionable: WR Jauan Jennings, Edge Samson Ebukam, DT Javon Kinlaw.

Cowboys: Questionable: LT Jason Peters, Edge DeMarcus Lawrence, S Jayron Kearse.

49ers Offense vs. Cowboys Defense

I have the 49ers offensive line tiered as a top-10 group. I have the Cowboys defensive front tiered as a top-five unit. This is a strength vs. strength trench matchup, where neither side has a notable macro advantage.

Betting Notes Per TruMedia

  • The 49ers are 11-6 against the spread this season
  • The 49ers are 9-8 on overs this season
  • Brock Purdy is 4-1 against the spread in his career
  • Brock Purdy is 4-1 on overs in his career
  • Kyle Shanahan is 50-47-1 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach
  • Kyle Shanahan is 50-46-2 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach

49ers Offense

  • The 49ers scored 26.5 points per game, good for sixth in the league
  • San Francisco is 13th in the league in yards passing per game and eighth in yards rushing
  • The 49ers are passing on 55% of their plays and running on 45% of plays, per Sports Info Solutions
  • The 49ers are now 6-0 under Purdy, which doesn’t include San Francisco’s win against Miami when Purdy came on for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Including that game against Miami, Purdy’s offense has breached 30-points in six of seven games
  • Per the Edge, Christian McCaffrey was eighth in the league in yards rushing with 1,139 and the leader in yards receiving among running backs with 748
  • Since Purdy took over against the Dolphins in Week 13, Deebo Samuel has 12 receptions for 121 yards receiving with a 22% target share and a 14.4% air yards share
  • Samuel caught six of nine targets for 133 yards receiving and a score, while adding 32 yards on the ground, against Seattle last week
  • Since Purdy took over against the Dolphins in Week 13, Brandon Aiyuk has 27 receptions for 363 yards receiving and two touchdowns with a 24.7% target share and a 39.6% air yards share
  • Since Purdy took over against the Dolphins in Week 13, Jauan Jennings has 11 receptions for 147 yards receiving with an 11.7% target share and a 16.5% air yards share
  • Since Purdy took over against the Dolphins in Week 13, George Kittle has 24 receptions for 315 yards receiving and seven touchdowns with a 21.6% target share and a 25.2% air yards share
  • Per TruMedia, Deebo Samuel has played 393 snaps on the perimeter and 138 in the slot
  • Brandon Aiyuk has played 774 snaps on the perimeter and 166 in the slot
  • Jauan Jennings has played 247 snaps on the perimeter and 218 in the slot
  • George Kittle has played the third-most snaps as an inline tight end with 570, with 78 more on the perimeter and 177 in the slot

 

Cowboys Defense

  • The Cowboys allowed 20.1 points per game, which is fifth in the league
  • Dallas is third in the league in sacks, first in forced fumbles, and seventh in interceptions
  • Per The Edge, the Cowboys allowed the 10th-most yards rushing per game and the 25th-most yards receiving per game to running backs this season
  • Dallas gave up the 10th-most yards receiving per game to wide receivers this year
  • Dallas gave up the third-most PPR points per game to perimeter receivers this year
  • The Cowboys allowed the fifth-fewest yards receiving per game to tight ends this season 

Cowboys Offense vs. 49ers Defense

The Cowboys have a top-five level offensive line. The 49ers have a top-five caliber defensive front. This is a strength vs. strength trench matchup where no side has a distinct advantage.

Betting Notes Per TruMedia

  • The Cowboys are 10-7 against the spread this season
  • The Cowboys are 9-8 on overs this season
  • Dak Prescott is 54-40-3 against the spread in his career
  • Dak Prescott is 48-49 on overs in his career
  • Mike McCarthy is 140-109-5 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach
  • Mike McCarthy is 139-113-2 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach

Cowboys Offense

  • The Cowboys scored 27.5 points per game, which is fourth in the league
  • Dallas is 18th in the league in yards passing per game and ninth in yards rushing
  • The Cowboys are passing on 54% of their plays and running on 46% of plays, per Sports Info Solutions
  • Per the Edge, Tony Pollard finished the season 16th in the league in yards rushing with 1,007 and 12th among running backs in yards receiving with 371
  • Ezekiel Elliot finished the season 22nd in yards rushing with 876 and seventh in rushing touchdowns with 12
  • CeeDee Lamb finished the season fifth in receptions (107), sixth in yards receiving (1,359), sixth in receiving touchdowns (9), seventh in target share (28.7%), and 17th in air yards share (34.9%)
  • Michael Gallup has breached 50 yards receiving once in his 14 games this season
  • Noah Brown has 10 yards receiving or fewer in each of his last three games
  • Dalton Schultz has nine targets or more in three of his last five games
  • Per TruMedia, CeeDee Lamb has played 450 snaps on the perimeter and 512 in the slot
  • Michael Gallup has played 663 snaps on the perimeter and 47 in the slot
  • Noah Brown has played 432 snaps on the perimeter and 353 in the slot
  • Dalton Schultz has played 501 snaps as an inline tight end, 62 on the perimeter, and 209 in the slot

49ers Defense

  • The 49ers have allowed 16.3 points per game, which is the best in the league
  • San Francisco is ninth in the league in sacks, sixth in forced fumbles, and the leader in interceptions
  • Per The Edge, the 49ers have allowed the fewest yards rushing per game and the 17th-most yards receiving per game to running backs this season
  • San Francisco has given up the sixth-most yards receiving per game to wide receivers this year
  • San Francisco has given up the eighth-most PPR points per game to perimeter receivers and the fifth most to those in the slot
  • The 49ers have allowed the 23rd-most yards receiving per game to tight ends this season

 

This Is What You’re Betting On

Including last week’s win against the Seahawks, San Francisco won their last 11 games. Dallas went 6-2 in their last eight regular season games. The Cowboys lost to the 49ers in last year’s Wild Card round 23-17, in Dallas.

If You’re Betting on the 49ers

The 49ers and the Eagles have the two best rosters in the league. San Francisco has an elite running back, one of the best wide receiver duos in the league, a top-five tight end, a top-10 offensive line, one of the best offensive play callers in the sport, and a defense that allowed the fewest points per game in the NFL this season. If you’re betting on the 49ers, you are building that bet around their premium roster.

San Francisco has scored 30 or more points in six of Purdy’s seven outings this season. A lot of that success should be attributed to the 49ers outstanding roster and Kyle Shanahan’s play calling, but the idea that any quarterback could walk right in and have this level of success is simply not true, because Trey Lance didn’t do it. We shouldn’t be treating Purdy as an elite or even a supremely reliable quarterback for betting purposes, but the reality is this offense hasn’t missed Garoppolo at all since Purdy took over. That said, the Cowboys defense is Purdy’s biggest challenge to date as a professional quarterback.

Your biggest concern as a 49ers bettor is that the Cowboys premium pass rush has a significant impact in this contest while playing very well in space. That cumulatively leads to Purdy having his most uneven start of the season. If that type of outcome is paired with Dak Prescott meeting expectations on offense, that’s the primary path to a 49ers loss in the Divisional Round.

If You’re Betting on the Cowboys

The Cowboys blew the doors off the Buccaneers last week. Dak Prescott was impressive, but the Cowboys defense was the real star of that contest. If you’re betting on the Cowboys in this matchup, you are betting on their dynamic pass rush having a big impact on the white-hot 49ers.

An interesting aspect of this matchup is that the 49ers are loaded with players that can create yards after the catch. When these teams faced each other in the playoffs last season, Micah Parsons saw the majority of his snaps as an off-ball linebacker. Parsons saw 55% of his defensive snaps as an off-ball linebacker last season, so that shift wasn’t unprecedented. However, he’s been used as more of a pure pass rusher this year as he’s seen roughly 80% of his snaps as a defensive lineman. Given the 49ers ability to generate yards after the catch, I will be very curious to see if Parsons sees a big spike in reps as an off-ball linebacker. Since we can reasonably expect Kyle Shanahan’s offense to feature a lot of short passes, Parsons might actually have a bigger impact in space than as a pass rusher in this contest.

The Cowboys offense has considerable ceiling, as we saw last week. Most of their spike games have come against below average defenses, but Dallas breached 30 points against both the Jaguars and Eagles in back-to-back weeks. If you’re betting on Dallas you’re expecting an output right around their team total of 21-points, but a spike game isn’t completely out of the question.

Your biggest concern as a Cowboys bettor is that Purdy’s offense continues to roll, while Dak Prescott’s offense falls short in another big game,

Score Prediction: 49ers 24 Cowboys 20

Ryan’s Recent Betting Record:

TS 2021: 49-31

ATS 2022: 48-32

Props 2022: 60-40

WATCH MORE: How Cowboys Can Knock off 49ers

Analysis

Cowboys’ Parsons Can Wreck Any Game Plan, Even Tom Brady’s

Marvin Lewis and Mike Zimmer discuss Micah Parsons and the impact he can have on a football game for the Cowboys, who have positioned him more on the line recently. Parsons will have his hands full with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Monday, but expect Parsons to make his presence felt.

NFL Week 17 Betting: Odds, Spreads, Picks, Predictions for Cowboys vs. Titans

NFL Week 17 Betting: Odds, Spreads, Picks, Predictions for Cowboys vs. Titans
Cowboys (11-4) at Titans (7-8) Opening Spread: Titans +9.5 Opening Game Total: 42.5 Opening Team Totals: Titans (16.5) Cowboys (26) Weather: Outdoors, no current concerns  The Line Report This line opened as Titans +9.5 This line has moved to Titans +10.5 This total opened 42.5 points This total has moved down to 40.5 points Notable […]

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Wildest NFL Stats From Week 15

Wildest NFL Stats From Week 15
Historic Defensive Effort Rayshawn Jenkins became the first player in NFL history to record at least 18 tackles and two interceptions in a single game. His last interception was a walk-off pick-6 in overtime to give the Jaguars a 40-34 victory over the Cowboys. Two Brady Firsts Entering Week 15, Tom Brady was 89-0 in […]

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