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5 Bets to Make This Week

This week, 5 Bets writer John Reger looks at two NFL games, an Italian soccer match, a UFC bout and the PGA Tour’s Sony Open.

The NFL Playoffs are here, and two of the six Wild Card games caught my eye. I like two of the favorites for this week’s 5 Bets, but have to give up some serious points.

The Carabao Cup match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal was canceled because of Covid-19 concerns, so I’ll skip the English Premier League this week and look instead to Italy and Serie A. I’m betting on a lopsided match that could provide good value.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship kicks off its first event of 2022 with UFC Vegas 46, and there’s an intriguing heavyweight bout that I like.

The last of my 5 Bets is on the PGA Tour’s Sony Open. One golfer who finished in the Top 10 of last week’s Tournament of Champions could be on the verge of a victory this week.

This Week’s 5 Bets

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8.5 Over Philadelphia Eagles
  2. Cincinnati Bengals -6.5 Over Las Vegas Raiders
  3. Torino +166 Over Sampdoria
  4. Chase Sherman +100 Over Jake Collier in UFC Vegas 46
  5. Kevin Kisner +3300 to Win Sony Open

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Handle Philadelphia Eagles

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin their title defense with a familiar foe, even if they aren’t in the same division. The Philadelphia Eagles grabbed the last spot in the NFC Playoffs and now must go on the road to face the defending Super Bowl champs; the Birds are 8.5-point underdogs.

Philadelphia finished the regular season strong, winning four of its last five games. That has some whispering that the NFC East team might pull off the upset.

But not so fast. None of those four vanquished teams had a winning record. Beating the New York Jets, the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team isn’t the same as facing the No. 2 seed Tampa Bay.

Besides, the two teams met in October and Tampa Bay prevailed, 29-22. I expect an even wider margin of victory on Sunday.


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Las Vegas Raiders’ High Comes Crashing Down

The final regular season game of the year was a classic between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders. Both were fighting for a playoff spot, and the Raiders prevailed in overtime with a field goal.

The emotional victory capped a turbulent season for the Raiders, who saw their head coach Jon Gruden get fired and star wide receiver Henry Ruggs III arrested for allegedly killing a woman in a drunk driving accident.

What goes up must come down—and look for that to happen this Saturday. The Raiders are on the road facing the Cincinnati Bengals, who are 6.5-point favorites. Vegas has a short week to prepare and also will be traveling cross-country, not conducive to a strong playoff performance. Look for the Bengals to win by a touchdown.


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Torino Tough at Home

The line for this Serie A match between Torino and Sampdoria had me scratching my head, wondering if I was missing something. These two teams in Italy’s top soccer league seem pretty mismatched, but Torino is a +166 favorite at BetMGM over Sampdoria, which comes in at +188.

When the odds were released, it was Sampdoria at +160 and Torino at +180. The line flipped pretty quick, and may even go lower in Torino’s favor before the start of Saturday’s game.

Two variables had me question this line. The first was Torino’s record at home. The northern Italian team hasn’t lost at home in seven consecutive matches. The second factor was the teams’ placement in the Serie A standings. Torino is ninth, while Sampdoria is 15th and could be in danger of being relegated.

Another positive: Torino has lost one of its last five matches, while Sampdoria has won just one of its last five.

The last reason I’m backing Torino is what the teams did last time they met in October. Torino shut out Sampdoria, 3-0. That was enough for me. I’m looking for another strong performance by Torino, and love that I’m getting more than one and half times my money.


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Sherman Wins Battle of Heavyweights

Should you be concerned about backing Chase Sherman in his heavyweight fight against Jake Collier at UFC Vegas 46? Sherman’s the underdog, +100 at PointsBet, and Collier is the favorite at -125.

Both fighters are returning from long layoffs. Collier returned in 2020 and could be 2-0, but lost a controversial split decision to Carlos Felipe last year.

Sherman has had a tougher road back, and has won just one of his three fights since returning nearly three years ago. That includes two consecutive losses by decision to Andrei Arlovski and Parker Porter in 2021.

For all that, I like Sherman to tame Collier, and I especially like the +100 odds. I’ll take a chance on the 32-year-old to defeat Collier Saturday night.


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Kevin Kisner Takes Sony Open

Last fall wasn’t a good season for Kevin Kisner, as the 37-year-old golfer missed two cuts and finished tied for 54th in the three events he played in 2021. But the new year is starting off much better. Kisner finished eighth at last week’s Tournament of Champions, against some pretty strong competition.

This week, he’s playing in the Sony Open, where he’s already had some success, with three Top 5 finishes since 2015. Kisner is also the leader in fairways hit and tied for ninth in greens in regulation.

The golfer is at +3300 to win the Sony Open. I like his recent performance there as well as his last event. If it hits, this would be a great payday.

John Reger knows sports betting. Don’t fill out your betslip without reading 5 Bets, every week at iGamingPlayer.

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