NFL Odds: Patriots Close Out Preseason As Underdogs Against Giants

The New England Patriots will be looking to close out their exhibition schedule on a winning note when they travel to MetLife Stadium on Thursday to battle the New York Giants as 2.5-point underdogs on the NFL preseason odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
New England will try to rebound after dropping a 25-14 decision in Carolina as narrow 1-point chalk last weekend, which marked its third loss in its past four preseason contests on the road ahead of Thursday night’s Patriots vs. Giants betting matchup.
The Patriots struggled to generate offense in their first road date on this year’s August schedule. Quarterback Tom Brady failed to find the end zone while going 12-for-18 for a meagre 102 yards in his second start of the summer, after racking up a pair of touchdowns and 172 passing yards during the first half of New England’s 37-20 win over the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles as 4-point home chalk two weeks ago.
The offseason departure of receivers Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola, combined with the four-game suspension that Julian Edelman will start the regular season serving, have left the Patriots with a thread-bare receiving corps. However, Brady continues to sit as a +450 favorite on the odds to lead the NFL in passing yards this season, and a strong +850 bet to garner NFL MVP honors.
Despite their uneven August performance, the Patriots are entrenched atop the AFC East futures as massive -700 favorites to secure a 10th straight divisional title, and are clear +650 chalk on the Super Bowl LIII odds.

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New England has enjoyed little success in August dates with the Giants, losing four straight. The Patriots fell 40-38 as 2.5-point home favorites in their annual preseason meeting with the Giants last year, and have come out on the losing end in seven straight preseason visits to New York.
Offensive production has been a major problem for the Patriots in August road dates with the Giants, with the squad averaging a dismal 11.2 points per game over their past five visits.
However, the Giants have been far from consistent in generating offense since the midpoint of last season. New York averaged just 13.3 points per game over the final 10 contests of the 2017 campaign, and came out flat in a 20-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns as 1-point home underdogs in their preseason opener.
But New York has responded with wins in its past two preseason games, including last week’s 22-16 win over the New York Jets as 2.5-point underdogs.

Jackie Bradley Jr. Lauds Red Sox For Being Tough Outs In Rout Of Marlins

You didn’t think the Boston Red Sox’s bats were going to be held silent for too long, did you?
After Boston’s offense struggled mightily over the weekend against the Tampa Bay Rays, scoring came in abundance in the team’s two-game set against the Miami Marlins at Fenway Park, including a 14-6 win Wednesday night.

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Following the series finale, Jackie Bradley Jr. praised his teammates for being tough outs and competing at the plate. To hear more from JBJ, as well as Mookie Betts and Brock Holt, check out the video above from “NESN Sports Today,” presented by People’s United Bank.
 

Rick Porcello Gets Ball For Red Sox In Series Opener Vs. White Sox

The Boston Red Sox are back to their winning ways.
After getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays this past weekend, the Red Sox responded with a two-game sweep of the Miami Marlins, capped off by Wednesday’s 14-6 win at Fenway Park.

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Boston will look to keep it going Thursday night when it opens up a four-game set in Chicago against the White Sox. Rick Porcello will take the mound for the visitors, while the South Siders will counter with Lucas Giolito.
For a preview of the pitching matchup, check out the video above from “Red Sox Final,” presented by Rodenhiser Heating & Cooling.

Red Sox Notes: David Price ‘Little Bit Sore’ After Wrist Injury In 14-6 Win

David Price had been rolling since the Major League Baseball All-Star break.
Coming into Wednesday’s game against the Miami Marlins, the Boston Red Sox pitcher was 5-0 with a 1.50 ERA over his previous seven starts and was coming off eight scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians.
But that all came to a screeching halt when the southpaw left the Red Sox’s 14-6 victory at the conclusion of the third inning after getting drilled in the wrist on a comebacker off the bat of Austin Dean at Fenway Park.
While it was a tense moment, all signs after the game pointed to Price having escaped major injury.
“The X-ray is negative,” Sox manager Alex Cora said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Obviously a little bit sore. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. We’ll go from there.”
Price was seen in the dugout with a brace on his wrist during the game, but he didn’t seem too concerned about the injury.
“I think it will be alright,” the pitcher said after the game. “I’ve been hit a couple times this year. I think I’ll be OK. … We’ll take it day by day.”
The lefty gave up three runs (all earned) on five hits with three strikeouts before exiting.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Marlins game:

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— The Red Sox exploded for 11 runs on 12 hits in the seventh inning. The team hadn’t scored double-digit runs in an inning in 15 years.

The Red Sox scored 11 runs on 12 hits in the 7th inning. The only other time since 1984 they recorded 10+ hits and scored 10+ runs in an inning was June 27, 2003, against the Marlins at Fenway Park (14 runs on 13 hits, bottom 1st).
— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) August 30, 2018

“It’s huge … we wanted to win these two games,” Price said of the seventh. “I think it was good for us to come out, get behind, to come back today, the way that we did. For our bullpen, to hold them at bay. That was huge for us.”
— Mookie Betts seems to have broken out of his slump. The right fielder went 3-for-4 on the night, scoring three runs with as many RBIs. His big night marked the fifth time this season Betts has scored at least three runs on at least three hits while driving in at least three runs — something no one else in Major League Baseball has done that more than three times this year.
“I’ve been telling you guys since Tampa, he’s been swinging the bat well,” Cora said. “He’s getting there, he’s feeling good …The process is right and he’s getting results.”
— With a New York Yankees loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, Boston’s lead in the American League East sits at 7 1/2 games.
— Wednesday marked the 40th come-from-behind victory for the Red Sox.
— Betts, Eduardo Nunez, Ian Kinsler, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Blake Swihart — who was pinch-hitting for Sandy Leon — were the five players for Boston to go 2-for-2 in the seventh inning that saw Boston send 15 batters to the plate.

Will Sam Darnold Be Best QB In NFL One Day? Here’s Why Tony Romo Thinks So

The Jets are putting quite a bit of faith in their prized draft pick.
New York selected quarterback Sam Darnold at No. 3 overall in the 2018 draft, and effectively put their support behind him Wednesday by trading fellow signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater to the New Orleans Saints.
Of all the rookie QB’s, of which there are many, Darnold arguably is in the best position to contribute right away. On top of the fact that he likely will be one of the few rookie signal-callers to start immediately, he also is pretty polished at a young age.
And his skill is getting the attention of an ex-NFLer.
Longtime Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, now an analyst with CBS, went as far as to say Darnold one day could be the best in the NFL.

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“I really think Sam is going to be one of the great quarterbacks in the National Football League,” Romo said on CBS Sports’ Tiki and Tierney, as transcribed by ForTheWin. “I think he’s got a chance, before he finishes his career, at some point to possibly be the top guy. Tom Brady’s gonna be done one day. I think when he goes away, it’s going to be Aaron Rodgers — he’s gonna be the guy until he’s done. But that next phase, there’s a chance. I see certain traits in Sam Darnold that are rare.”
So what are those traits? In a separate interview with NJ.com, Romo gave a little more insight into his logic.
“I do think that Sam, he has rare qualities that I like to see on the football field. I don’t know how he is in the classroom. But as far as resetting the pocket, the feel, the subtle nuance to the game that sometimes goes unnoticed to the average fan, I just feel like he has those things. Which tells you that his ceiling is very high.”
The Jets long have struggled to find stability under center, so it’s understandable that Darnold has fans hyped.
Of course, he’s yet to play in a regular season game, so we’ll have to wait and see if all the excitement ends up being on the money. But it sounds like Jets fans aren’t alone in thinking Darnold could be something special.

Mookie Betts Reacts To Red Sox’s 11-Run Inning In Win Over Marlins

The seventh inning of Wednesday’s game against the Miami Marlins was kind to the Boston Red Sox, to say the least.
Heading into the frame down 5-3, Boston posted 11 (!) runs in the seventh and never looked back, cruising to a 14-6 victory at Fenway Park.

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After the game, Mookie Betts, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored, reacted to the wild inning, noting that hitting is contagious.
To hear from the star right fielder, check out the video above from “Red Sox Extra Innings,” presented by W.B. Mason.

Red Sox Wrap: 11-Run Seventh Lifts Boston To 14-6 Victory Over Marlins

The Red Sox offense was pretty energized in the seventh inning Wednesday night.
Thanks to six singles, four doubles and a triple, Boston dropped an 11-spot on the Marlins in the seventh en route to a 14-6 thumping of Miami at Fenway Park.
Boston was playing from behind all night and couldn’t quite catch Miami until the bats woke up, which allowed the Sox to complete the sweep of the brief two-game set.
David Price lasted just three innings before coming out of the game with a left wrist contusion after getting drilled in the wrist with a comebacker. The bullpen took over for the ensuing six innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out three.
With the win, the Red Sox improved to 92-41, while the Marlins slipped to 53-81.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
Runs.
And lots of them. The Red Sox only pushed three across the plate through the first six innings until 11 of them came in that explosive seventh.
ON THE BUMP
— Price gave up runs in two of the three innings he pitched, striking out three.
The Marlins jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second after Derek Dietrich jumped on an 85 mph changeup and sent it to deep to right field.

D.D.! Get out of my LABORATORY! pic.twitter.com/Bgl0IVDsp3
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 29, 2018

Miami extended its lead in the third when J.T. Realmuto smacked an RBI double to center field, then scored the next at bat on a Starlin Castro single to make it 3-1.
Price got out of the inning, but at the cost of himself. Austin Dean drilled a liner right back to the pitcher, hitting him in the wrist. Price completed the out at first, but was removed from the game.
— Hector Velazquez came in and pitched a clean fourth, but ran into some trouble in the fifth after Castro drove in Miami’s fourth run with an RBI single to give the team a two-run advantage.
After getting out of the sixth inning unscathed, his night was done after beginning the seventh with a walk and single.
— Tyler Thornburg relieved Velazquez and gave up an RBI single to Realmuto that put the Fins ahead 5-3. The run was charged to Velazquez.
— Ryan Brasier gave up a home run to Dean in the eighth.
— Drew Pomeranz closed out the ninth, collecting a strikeout.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Eduardo Nunez tied the game at one in the second inning, winning a 12-pitch at-bat by drilling a solo home run over the Green Monster.

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EDYARDO pic.twitter.com/96K8jZ3fht
— NESN (@NESN) August 29, 2018

— Down 3-1 in the third, Mookie Betts, who has been in a bit of a slump of late, sent an absolute rocket into the Green Monster, ending his 17-game round-tripper drought.

Mookie visits the Monster. #Crushed pic.twitter.com/XlXPu414a6
— MLB (@MLB) August 29, 2018

— The Red Sox got a run back in the sixth after back-to-back walks to Betts and Andrew Benintendi paved the way for J.D. Martinez to single up the middle to make the score 4-3.
— After falling behind by two, Boston put runners in scoring position when Nunez led off the seventh with a single before Ian Kinsler hit a wall-ball double. Blake Swihart — pinch-hitting for Sandy Leon — singled to left to bring the Sox within one before Jackie Bradley Jr. tied the game at five with an RBI double.
Betts then gave Boston a lead when he hit the inning’s third double, driving in Swihart and Bradley. The damage kept coming when Brock Holt, making his first plate appearance of the night as a pinch-hitter, roped a stand-up triple to deep right, driving in the eighth run for the Red Sox.
Xander Bogaerts got in on the fun with an RBI single for the 9-5 edge before Nunez, for the second time in the inning, singled and gave Boston double-digit runs. Kinsler followed that up with an RBI single of his own. Swihart drove in two more when he tripled in his second at-bat of the stanza for a 13-5 lead.
The hits kept pouring in as Bradley drove in his second run of the inning with a single. The frame eventually came to an end after Benintendi grounded into a double play, but the damage had been does as Boston had taken an 11-run lead.

So you can re-live tonight with us. pic.twitter.com/kx4ENp1KSc
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) August 30, 2018

— Betts and Nunez led the way for Boston with three hits.
— Holt, Kinsler, Swihart and Bradley had two hits, while Martinez and Bogaerts had one apiece.
— Leon, Steve Pearce and Benintendi went hitless.
TWEET OF THE GAME
So much fun.

“Having fun yet?” pic.twitter.com/HMWFsRYc8Q
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) August 30, 2018

UP NEXT

The Red Sox will head to Chicago and begin a four-game set with the White Sox on Thursday. Rick Porcello will get the ball for Boston in the series opener and will be opposed by Lucas Giolito. First pitch from Guaranteed Rate Field is set for 8:10 p.m. ET.

NFL Rumors: Here’s What Raiders Would Want In Khalil Mack Trade

It’s been a great summer for a handful of NFL superstars.
A number of the game’s best players have cashed in on lucrative new contracts this offseason, most recently Odell Beckham Jr. and Aaron Rodgers. That said, there still are a few elite talents awaiting new deals, including Khalil Mack.
Mack still has yet to report to the Oakland Raiders as he continues his contract holdout. Given the uncertainty of Mack’s situation in Oakland, the Raiders reportedly have fielded a number of calls inquiring about the three-time Pro Bowl selection’s availability. And it will come as no surprise that the Black and Silver’s starting asking price is pretty high.

The #Raiders have received a bunch of calls in recent days about trading Khalil Mack, but other teams have gotten the impression the price would be at least two first-round picks. No sense they‘re motivated to do a deal. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/OUsqtMQyKu

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— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 29, 2018

Mack quickly has established himself as one of the league’s premier defenders. The 27-year-old has tallied 40 1/2 total sacks over the span of his first four seasons and he already has two first-team All-Pro selections and a Defensive Player of the Year award to his name.
The Raiders, of course, would be foolish to part ways with a player of Mack’s caliber, but if the two sides continue to fail to see eye-to-eye, then something will have to give.

Tom Brady Delivers Inspiring Message To Make-A-Wish Children At Gillette Stadium

Tom Brady might be focusing most of his time on preparing for the start of his 19th season with the New England Patriots, but the star quarterback took some time out of his day Wednesday to meet with a number of children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots quarterback posted a video to his Instagram story of himself answering questions while sitting with the kids, and the 41-year-old delivered some inspiring words when he was asked if he ever doubted himself when people criticized him during the NFL Draft.
“I never thought I’d be this successful,” Brady said. “But I think it’s been a lot of things that are — I think sometimes in life you aren’t born with everything, you know? And sometimes in life, you’re born with things that maybe a real strength and other things that really aren’t strengths.
“And there were things that I was really good at physically and there’s things that I was really bad at physically. I think you have to recognize the things you do well and the things you don’t do well. And, you know, a lot of people are going to evaluate you, and, you know, especially when you’re in the public eye they’re going to criticize you.

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“And I think that you have to have a lot of inner belief in yourself,” Brady continued. “That the strengths that you have are going to be good enough for what you are going to be asked to do. You know, and I think sometimes that if you focus on things that you don’t have, that life can get hard, but if you focus on things that you do have, life can be very joyful. You know, when you can use your strengths, and use all the positive things in your life, it ends up being, you know, a great aspect of your life.
“When you focus on those positive things, a lot of momentum can build and it can build a lot of positive things with you and your relationships and your career and your job and things like that. Nobody’s born with everything. We’re all working our way and trying to do the best we can do.”
Well said, Tom.
You can see the video here. 

These Two Patriots Among ESPN’s ’50 Most Fascinating People’ In NFL For 2018

There’s plenty of excitement surrounding the 2018 New England Patriots, and understandably so.
After falling short in the Super Bowl last season, the Patriots are returning plenty of talent and are poised, if nothing else, to run away with the AFC East yet again.
And according to ESPN, two of their players are among the 50 most interesting individuals in the league heading into the campaign. Bill Barnwell compiled a list of players, coaches and executives, and defensive end Trey Flowers and tight end Rob Gronkowski both cracked the list.
After detailing how porous the Patriots defense was during the Super Bowl, Barnwell had this to say about Flowers, who he listed at No. 36:

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The Patriots spent the offseason trying to fix that by adding depth for the front seven, signing Adrian Clayborn and trading for Danny Shelton. They’ll get back playoff hero Dont’a Hightower and probably have enough on the edge to move him back to inside linebacker. The guy who could make the biggest difference, though, is Flowers. The former midround pick racked up 25 knockdowns last season and added nine more during the postseason, three more than any other player. The 25-hit total usually amounts to a total of just over 11 sacks in a given campaign, but Flowers finished his season with just 6.5 sacks, which was the sixth-largest gap in football. He’s either a budding star or already a secret one.
Gronk is the less surprising inclusion on this list, both for his skill and the uncertainty surrounding his future on the gridiron. Here’s Barnwell’s reasoning for Gronkowski, who landed at No. 42:
Whether this is or is not Gronk’s final season in the NFL, the 29-year-old has probably already done enough to earn his place in the Hall of Fame. Terrell Davis’ arrival in Canton showed that the electorate is willing to honor players with shorter careers, and while Gronkowski hasn’t won league MVP, he’s the most impactful and dominant tight end we’ve ever seen. Gronkowski already has been named a first-team All-Pro four times, a feat which has cleared the path to induction for each of the 10 eligible skill position players to pull off that trick since 1970. Tony Gonzalez, Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson also will be first-ballot Hall of Famers when they’re eligible for election. One more typical season wouldn’t hurt Gronkowski’s chances, but he has simply been too good to keep out.
Indeed, both Flowers and Gronkowski will be key players for the Patriots this season, who are loaded with storylines as kickoff draws near. And in order for New England to live up to its lofty expectations this season, both players will have to play key roles.