NFL: Book roots for Cowboys, Raiders
The betting public has spoken, leaving one online sportsbook sitting in its customary position of rooting for underdogs heading into the final weekend of the NFL regular season. A Bovada spokesperson reported Friday that his shop would be rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
As of Friday, the Cowboys were 7-point home underdogs to the Philadelphia Eagles at Bovada. Dallas, of course, will be without starting quarterback Tony Romo. The Cowboys were just 2.5-point underdogs before it was reported Monday that Romo was out for the season with a back issue. The line got as high as Philadelphia -7.5, but settled at -7 at Bovada and -6.5 at other shops.
“The public is still all over the Eagles, even at -7,” a Bovada spokesperson told OddsShark.com
Veteran backup Kyle Orton will start in place of Romo, who underwent back surgery Friday, ending any speculation that he might be able to play through a herniated disk. Dallas won the first meeting with the Eagles, 17-3, in Philadelphia. The winner captures the NFC East title and advances to the playoffs.
Bovada also is rooting heavily for the Raiders, who are catching 12.5 points from the Denver Broncos at home on Sunday. The Broncos have covered the spread in seven of their last 10 games at Oakland and need a win to secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. However, double-digit home underdogs have been a profitable investment historically in the NFL, so Bovada has that going its way.
The public also is siding with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who must beat the Cleveland Browns at home to stay alive in the AFC Wild Card hunt. The Steelers are 7-point home favorites over the Browns.
Pittsburgh must win and hope the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, and San Diego Chargers all lose in order to reach the postseason. Cleveland is 3-24 straight up in its past 27 games against Pittsburgh and is 2-22 straight-up in its last 25 road games overall.