|The early lines on conference championship games . . .
The Saints opened with a mix of -3 -120 and -3.5 Even vs. the Rams in the NFC conference title game, Over/Under 57. In the AFC, the Chiefs still a mix of -3 -110 and -3 EVEN vs. Patriots, Over/Under still ranges from 57 to 58.5.
You can follow the NFL lines across Las Vegas here all week.
As David Purdum points out, this marks only the second time since 2007 that the Patriots are playoff dogs.
Dave Tuley’s ATS report . . .
Patriots rout Chargers 41-28 in AFC divisional playoffs: Pats easily covered as 4-point home favorites (went over betting total of 48); Chargers won second half 21-6, covering as 2.5-point, second-half faves (went Over second-half total of 23.5). Patriots led the Chargers 35-7 at halftime, easily covering as 3-point, first-half favorites (flew Over first-half total of 23.5).
Saints hold off Eagles 20-14 in NFC divisional playoffs: Eagles covered as 9-point road underdogs (stayed way Under total of 52.5); Saints won second half, 10-0, covering as 7-point, second-half favorites (stayed Under second-half total of 27.5). Eagles covered as 5.5-point, first-half underdogs (stayed Under first-half total of 26).
Playoff recap: Home/faves 4-0 SU but 3-1 ATS this round, Over/Unders 2-2; road teams & underdogs 5-3 ATS, Unders 5-3; first-half faves/dogs 4-4 ATS, first-half Unders 5-3; second-half faves 5-3 ATS, second-half Overs 5-3.
Contest corner . . .
The inaugural DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship ended with a winner and a controversy. Dave Tuley sorts through the issues here.
And catch Gill Alexander’s show today (noon-2 p.m. ET) when he will interview third-place finisher Rufus Peabody, who was at the center of the controversy. Gill entered the contest as well.
College basketball . . .
Many college basketball fans circled tonight’s Syracuse/Duke matchup (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET) before the season had even started. The Orange has not lived up to its billing, writes Jeff Fogle, and this game will come down to which team can dictate the pace.
5Dimes Tony update . . .
Costa Rican authorities say they have arrested those responsible for the Sept. 24 kidnapping of William Sean Creighton Kopko, aka 5Dimes Tony, owner of an offshore sports book that caters to Americans. Simultaneous raids took place Spain and Costa Rica last Friday, local media outlets reported. One Costa Rican newspaper reported that Tony’s body was found a month after the kidnapping, but authorities have never confirmed that report and didn’t do it after these arrests. Most of the stories are in Spanish, but CNN picked up on the story.