Tropicana Las Vegas

Tropicana Las Vegas

Monday, September 26, 2016

MNF Preview: Saints vs. Falcons

The New Orleans Saints will commemorate one of the more noteworthy games in franchise history when they host the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night in a matchup of longtime NFC South rivals. It will mark the 10-year anniversary of the re-opening of the Superdome after the venue was forced to close for one season in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

While emotions certainly will not be as high as in New Orleans' win over Atlanta a decade ago, the Saints can use any edge to avoid an 0-3 start after dropping their first two games by a combined four points. New Orleans is favored by -2.5 tonight with the total at 53.5.

THE FALCONS (1-1) Matt Ryan had his fewest touchdown passes (21) since his rookie season in 2015, but he off to a fast start with 730 yards passing with five scores and one interception while leading the league with a 121.4 quarterback rating. There is cause for concern in the passing game with star wide receiver Julio Jones sitting out his second straight practice Friday due to a calf injury, but Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said he expects him to play. The Falcons are receiving solid production from the backfield tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who have combined for 181 rushing yards and 11 receptions. Atlanta's defense ranks 29th overall, allowing an average of 412.5 yards per game.

THE SAINTS (0-2) New Orleans was horrendous on defense last season and little has changed -- it ranked 31st in the league with a staggering 451.5 yards surrendered and has been torched through the air for an average of 336.0 yards. Keeping the defense off the field would be easier if the Saints could crank up their running game, with lead back Mark Ingram producing 88 rushing yards on only 21 attempts, including nine carries in last week's 19-16 loss at the New York Giants. Quarterback Drew Brees has a potent receiving duo in Willie Snead and Brandon Cooks, who have combined for 27 catches and four touchdowns.

The Saints are 15-5 versus Atlanta since Payton and Brees joined the team, including a season sweep in 2015.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

USC visits Utah in Friday Night Pac-12 battle

USC is off to its worst start since 2001 and its upcoming schedule won't get any easier as the Trojans travel to face No. 23 Utah in a Pac-12 game Friday night. USC is coming off a 27-10 loss Saturday at No. 6 Stanford, which dropped its record to 1-2 for the first time since Pete Carroll's first season with the Trojans 15 years ago, and coach Clay Helton responded by replacing starting quarterback Max Browne, a junior, with freshman Sam Darnold. The troubled Trojans are +3 point underdogs to the homestanding Utes. The total is 46.5.

The Utes won't have any pity for USC after the Trojans upset them 42-24 last season when they came to Los Angeles ranked No. 7, spoiling a 6-0 start. That game was the debut of Helton, who was made the permanent coach later in the season but has gone 1-4 since. Utah is led by quarterback Troy Williams, an L.A.-area product who is coming off a 20-for-28 performance last weekend against San Jose State, finishing with 257 yards and a touchdown. The Utes didn't throw a touchdown pass until their third game last season, but already have four in 2016 - all to senior wide receiver Tim Patrick.

USC (1-2, 0-1 Pac-12): Adoree' Jackson is one of the most versatile and entertaining players in Division I and may need to take over this game to get the Trojans back on track. He's a three-year starter at cornerback and also plays wide receiver and returns punt and kickoffs, putting him in the rare position of scoring touchdowns on a reception, interception return, punt and kickoff return during his career. Jackson, who limited Alabama sophomore wide receiver Calvin Ridley to two catches for nine yards in the season opener earlier this month, figures to draw the task of covering Patrick.  

UTAH (3-0, 0-0): The Utes delivered 10 sacks against San Jose and look to get after Darnold against one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country. Hunter Dimick leads the way with three sacks for Utah and brings plenty of experience, starting 23 games in his college career. Kylie Fitts was expected to be a key part of the defensive line, but suffered a season-ending injury two weeks ago, increasing the role of Filipo Mokofisi, who move from defensive tackle to Fitts' former spot at defensive end last week and produced two sacks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

MLB Free Wednesday Play as the White Sox visit the Phillies

Chris Sale looks to snap Chicago's four-game skid
Take #980 Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox UNDER 7.5 (7:05 PM ET Wednesday, September 20)

The Phillies go for a two-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox when the teams conclude their interleague series in Philadelphia. Game time is 7:05 ET at Citizens Bank Park where the Chisox are -160 moneyline favorites. The total is 7.5.

The White Sox (72-78, 31-45 road) are fading fast. They’ve lost four straight due mainly to a meltdown by the pitching staff which has allowed 25 runs in the last three games. 

The Phillies (67-83, 34-42 home) took Tuesday’s opener 7-6 behind Odubel Herrera, who has emerged as the leader of a young team. He belted his 15th home run among three hits in the victory and is now 15 for 28 with six RBI’s and nine runs scored in the last seven games.

Chris Sale (16-8, 3.03 ERA) notched his major league-leading sixth complete game and went at least eight frames for the sixth straight start when he allowed three earned runs with 10 strikeouts to snap a four-start winless streak.  Sale is seeing Philadelphia for the first time in his career and is 6-3 with a 2.80 ERA in interleague play.

Jerad Eickhoff (10-14, 3.74 ERA) faced the White Sox on August 24 and notched the win with a solid six inning effort.
Philadelphia is 19-9 to the UNDER with Eickhoff on the mound. 

The Phillies are 42-34 to the UNDER at home and 5-3-2 to the low side in their past 10 overall.

The UNDER is 13-4-4 overall in Philadelphia’s past 21 games.

The OVER is 9-2 in the Phillies last 11 interleague games while the White Sox are 7-1 to the high side in their last eight road games.

The White Sox are 2-6 in the last eight series meetings. 

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