Gambling recap

Week 6 was sick: With the injury bug hitting the NFL again

J.J. Watt's injury was followed up by two of the league's other big stars: Odell Beckham, Jr. and Aaron Rodgers. Bob Levey/Getty Images

In under a span of two weeks, the NFL has lost three of its "STAR" players to season-ending injuries. The hometown Texans losing J.J. Watt to a tibial plateau fracture was absolutely heartbreaking for the things he does on and off the field.

Aaron Rodgers broken collarbone comes at the worse time for him and the Packer faithful, as they entered the weekend 4-1 with the division lead and looking like a team to fear once its squad regained full health. Odell Beckham Jr. fractured his ankle, and whether you like him or not, he is electrifying and an instant gamechanger.

These types of players are the face of the NFL and a huge reason why the league sits on its own stage, or does it?  There is some competition with the MLB playoffs and the NBA season tip-off tonight arriving at the perfect time when the buzz is at an all-time high with the era of "Super Teams" expanding. Yes, we have the Leveon Bell's and Zeke Elliot's of the world to keep us tuned in but can they be trusted to carry this league when they have their own off-field issues?

So when you think of the second tier of stars in the NFL that shoulder the brand, who do you really come up with? The veterans in Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Matt Ryan or maybe you go with the quiet Julio Jones and the sometimes too outspoken Antonio Brown?

The NFL is in desperate need of players like Carson Wentz, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and Derek Carr to make the jump to stardom. Just take this for example,  the preseason release of schedules provided us the opportunity of the Thanksgiving special which is  Josh Norman vs Beckham, and was something to look forward to as the nightcap after stuffing your face with anything and everything you can put gravy on. Is it really something to look forward too now? How exciting was the Giants vs. Broncos game Sunday night? A few days after Thanksgiving, The Pittsburgh Steelers host The Green Bay Packers which at one point, was thought to have big playoff implications being that it was later in the season. With Rodgers out, does this still have the same buzz? Do you get the picture? Maybe, the new wave of rookies can continue making some noise and give us something to look forward to as Houston's newly found leader Deshaun Watson has been nothing short of spectacular. In the same division down in Jacksonville,  Leonard Fournette is making quite the impact of his own and is second in rush yards, trailing only the Chiefs breakout rookie, Kareem Hunt. With the spotlight seeming to be off the actual on-field product the league produces lately let's see who can step up and carry the coveted treasure that is the NFL.


Teams recieiving the most action Week 6:

Packers 85%

Broncos 84%

Texans 82%

Falcons 79%

Pats 78%

1 of the 5 covered. 3 losing outright as Favorites.

Week 6 dogs keep barking

In a trend that has been occurring all year long, the dogs dominated again. This week, the underdogs went 11-3 ATS, but even more impressive, nine of them won the game outright. Taking the points has been pivotal this season as underdogs are now 51-36-2 ATS. The astonishing number here is 38 out of the 51 underdogs have won the game straight up. So in other words, if you're feeling the underdog side is right, sprinkle a little on the money line as well.

The Dolphins and Giants were the most significant underdogs this week to win straight up.

Miami Pulled off an upset on the Road 20-17 as 13.5 point underdogs and cashing the money line at +700. Miami trailed in this game 17-0 and ran off 20 unanswered points capping off a spectacular second half in which the Falcons only had four offensive possessions. Maybe, the Falcons looked ahead prematurely to this weeks rematch of last years Superbowl with the Patriots. Whatever the case may be, blowing a 17 point lead at home to Jay Cutler is inexcusable.

In the Sunday night matchup, the hobbled Giants (+600) limped into Denver with a part-time receiving corp and stunned the Broncos. In a strength vs. weakness encounter, the Giants were able to run successfully on the leagues No. 1  rush defense. The unknown New York running back Orleans Darkwa tallied 117 yards on 21 carries, keeping the pressure off the passing game in which Eli Manning only had 19 attempts. Coming off a bye, with the extra time to prepare, vs. a team who had a meet and greet with its wide receivers prior to the kickoff, this loss has to sting for Denver. They will have a chance to bounce back this week vs. The Chargers, a team they have covered against 5 of the last 6 in the series and edged out 24-21 in week 1 and pushed as -3 point favorites.

Honorable mention- Bears (+5.5  ML +190) at Ravens, 27-24 OT

Totals

The Over/Under was 8-6 in Week 6.

The lowest total on the board was in the game we discussed earlier in the Giants vs. Broncos matchup with a total of 37.5. Much of this number was a direct result of the injuries to the Giants roster and the stout Denver defense. Things played the other way around, and the Giants scored 23 points and only allowed 10 on the road getting their first victory of the year.

The Highest Total was in the Saints vs. Lions game that sat at 50.5. New Orleans was able to surpass the point total on its own. In a game where the Saints scored 50-plus points, you would think Brees put up huge numbers. Brees was 21-of-31 for 186 yards with two touchdowns and two picks. With the team jumping out to such a big lead, the play calling slowed down for the Saints, capping the quarterback's big day: at halftime he was 21-of-31 for 186 yards and a TD. Instead, they leaned heavily on the ground game allowing Mark Ingram to breakout in his first game with Adrian Peterson out of his way. Ingram ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. The Saints defense also contributed their fair share to the total, scoring two defensive scores and creating five turnovers.

The over/under for 2017 now sits at 45-46-1.

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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