UFC 253 comes packed with fireworks from both inside the octagon and the betting lines as middleweight king Israel Adesanya settles his grudge with the unbeaten destroyer, Paulo Costa. Both fighters are explosive strikers and with ill will all but guaranteeing heated exchanges. Co-headlining are red-hot fighters Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz facing off for the vacant light heavyweight title. Let's break down these fights and see which bets we can cash.
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NFL Point Spread: Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots Divisional Playoffs
No team in sports has been asked to play through as much controversy as the New England Patriots. Last year, they lost Touchdown Tommy, then got him back, then lost him again because of Inflategate. They became the heel team in the NFL (even more so than normal) and were labeled cheater across the world. How did they respond? By systematically just moving forward, all the way to another Super Bowl.
I love upsets, but you’re not going to see one on Saturday. The only way the Titans can beat the Patriots is if all of these rumours of backstage issues are true in the Pats’ locker room, and the issues boil over onto the field. Hard to see that happening, and I certainly am not ready to bet on that.
I’ve got the Pats taking over the game and pulling away, if not running away, in the second half. This is a team that’s world famous for having zen-like control and shutting out all of that extraneous noise that gets between them and the Vince Lombardi Trophy. If you’re dreaming of a Titans upset, keep dreaming. This is the real world.
Prediction: The New England Patriots (-13.5) at Sports Interaction
This Tennessee team is definitely playing with a chip on their shoulders. They feel they’re much better than people give them credit for, and they can win it all. Can they score with the Patriots? No. The Titans scored 20.9 points per game in the regular season, and have only mustered an average of 17 points per game over their last 4 games, including their 22-21 playoff win over the Chiefs last week.
That’s putting an insane amount of pressure on your special teams and defense against the New England team. Tennessee gave up 22.2 points per game, but they were 4th overall in rushing defense. They were pretty average against the pass in the regular season, ranking 8th overall in both passing yards and passing touchdowns given up.
So it’s basically on the D to have the best game of their lives. Also, they need a career-defining game from Marcus Mariota. Mariota was solid enough for the win against KC last weekend. But let’s not forget that one of his touchdowns was a freak play where the ball was deflected back to his own hands, effectively throwing a TD pass to himself. It was the Titans' first playoff win since 2004... Mariota would have been 10 at the time, for the record.
Meanwhile, the Patriots did what they do in the regular season. The Pats scored 28.6 points a game, good enough for second in the NFL behind the Rams. They were also second in passing yards behind the Chargers and third in passing touchdowns. They also had the 4th best defence in the NFL, only giving up 18.5 points per night.
None of these stats are good news for The Titans, who are inexperienced and out of the element here. We’re basically talking about a team that has 3 playoff wins this century (The Titans, clearly), going up against a team that has only failed to make the playoffs 3 times this century.
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