Patriots

NFL odds: Titans-Chiefs and Packers-49ers spread, moneyline for Championship Sunday

NFL odds: Titans-Chiefs and Packers-49ers spread, moneyline for Championship Sunday

The matchups are set for championship Sunday in the NFL playoffs, and it's an exciting time for sports bettors.

This past weekend's Divisional Round games were full of twists and turns, particularly the Kansas City Chiefs overcoming a 24-0 first-half deficit to beat the Houston Texans 51-31. It was one of the craziest rollercoasters for sports bettors. People who wagered on the Texans were feeling pretty good early in the second quarter, but those warm feelings quickly disappeared as Houston not only lost outright, but also failed to cover a large 10-point spread.

Three of the four Divisional Round matchup had betting lines of seven or more points, and both games Sunday also have spreads of a touchdown or higher. 

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The Chiefs will host the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium as 7.5-point favorites. The Titans have rewarded bettors nicely through two postseason games. They were 5.5-point underdogs against the Patriots and 10-point underdogs versus the Ravens, easily covering both times. 

Kansas City's offense, led by superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, looks unstoppable. The Chiefs scored a touchdown on eight consecutive drives versus the Texans, which set a playoff record. Tennessee's own offense is quite formidable, too.

Running back Derrick Henry led the league in rushing yards during the regular season, and he's stepped up his performance another few notches with 377 rushing yards and a touchdown in road playoff wins over the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens. The best way to beat the high-scoring Chiefs offense is to control the clock by running the ball effectively, thus keeping Mahomes off the field as much as possible. The Patriots used this strategy to great effect in last season's AFC title game, and the Titans are well-equipped to do the same.

Here are the latest betting odds for the conference championships, via the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.

AFC Championship (3:05 p.m. ET at Arrowhead Stadium)
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs

Spread: Chiefs -7.5
Moneyline: Chiefs -350, Titans +290
Total: 52

NFC Championship (6:30 p.m. ET at Levis Stadium)
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
Spread
: 49ers -7
Moneyline: 49ers -290, Packers +230
Total: 45

Curran: For Brady and the Patriots, there's no easy way out

Patriots Talk Podcast: Training camp position battles to watch

Patriots Talk Podcast: Training camp position battles to watch

Finally, the New England Patriots are back on the field at Gillette Stadium.

The new-look Pats had their first practice of 2020 on Wednesday, which means training camp position battles are officially underway. The obvious position battle in camp will be at the quarterback position between Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham, but there are many more intriguing battles to keep an eye on.

In a brand new Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry break down the positions where these battles will take place.

Patriots Talk Podcast - Training Camp Preview: Burning Questions. Bold Predictions | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

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Perry named the Patriots' three most notable position battles, starting with the QB position. While it's technically a battle between Newton and Stidham, some believe it's a foregone conclusion Newton will be the Week 1 starter.

"You have the quarterback spot with Cam vs. Stidham. Let's move past that, we've talked enough about that, we both think Cam is going to win the job. Not a real battle, per se," Perry said.

"Let's go back to the outside linebackers. This is a four-way cage match between Chase Winovich, Anfernee Jennings, Shilique Calhoun, and Brandon Copeland. My guy is going to be Anfernee Jennings, but I do think that's a battle. Whatever that opposite John Simon edge spot is called, somebody's got to fill it.

"Number three, let's talk special teams ... who is your returner? Is it Kyle Dugger, your first draft pick in this year's draft? Is it J.J. Taylor? Fun as hell to watch, would be fun as hell to watch in the kicking game. Or is it last year's guy, Gunner [Olszewski]? They don't want to give it to Julian Edelman, we know that, so one of those three guys I think will win it."

For Curran, it's a newly-added safety who will have his attention in camp.

"I'm going to head over to the secondary for the position battle that I'm interested to watch," Curran said. "I have a good feeling of who's going to shine there and it's my defensive dark horse for this camp and this season -- it's going to be Adrian Phillips at the safety spot holding off a young Kyle Dugger.

"I think Adrian Phillips is going to be an absolute eye-opener at the safety position ... Adrian Phillips is a talented player, he's closer to [Patrick] Chung than he is Devin McCourty. He's going to be a really good player for the Patriots this year. But I'm going to be real interested to see how Dugger competes ... he's an athletic unicorn."

Curran and Perry also discuss the burning questions surrounding the Patriots, why the Pats should explore using the triple option, bold predictions for the 2020 season, and much more.

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or on YouTube.

Patriots' 2020 draft pick Dustin Woodard retires before rookie season

Patriots' 2020 draft pick Dustin Woodard retires before rookie season

One of the New England Patriots' 2020 draft picks has decided to retire before his rookie season began.

The team announced Thursday it has placed offensive lineman Dustin Woodard on the reserve/retired list.

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Woodard, who played college football at the University of Memphis, was selected by the Patriots in the seventh round (230th overall) of April's draft. The 22-year-old center/guard was one of three offensive linemen taken by the Patriots in the 2020 draft, along with guard Michael Onwenu (sixth round) and tackle Justin Herron (sixth round).

Why is Woodard retiring? ESPN's Mike Reiss reported additional details:

The Patriots signed center Tyler Gauthier on Wednesday in a move that adds some depth to the position following Woodard's retirement. Woodard had a chance to make the roster as the backup center behind starter David Andrews.