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Meteorologists were predicting warm temperatures and a chance of thunderstorms for Monday’s Patriots-Dolphins game as of Sunday night. The chance of rain was listed at 60 percent with winds between 8-10 mph.
NFL: The over is 16-5 in New England’s last 21 games overall.
NFL: Oakland has covered in eight of its last 10 meetings with Denver.
MLB: Tampa Bay has won 21 of its last 27 games as a favorite.
MLB: Atlanta has won eight of its last nine meetings with Florida.
NFL: Miami has covered just 17 of its last 63 home games.
NFL: The under is 0-8 in the last eight games in which Denver has been favored.
MLB: Pittsburgh has won just eight of its last 28 home games.
MLB: The Chicago Cubs are 3-7 in their last 10 road games.
3 – After all the hullabaloo over the NFL’s new kickoff rule that many figured would cut down on long returns, there were three kickoff returns for touchdowns on opening Sunday, the most since 1998.
Injuries that shouldn’t be overlooked
Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins – Thomas is currently listed as questionable for Monday’s game against the Patriots with a hamstring injury, but told reporters on Sunday he expected to go, and handle red-zone carries. The club brought back veteran Larry Johnson last week in case Thomas can’t start.
Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians – Hafner returned to the lineup Sunday for the Indians after being on the shelf since the middle of August with a strained right foot. He batted cleanup as the club’s DH in Sunday’s win over the White Sox and went 1-for-4 with a walk.
Game of the day
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (+7.5, 45.5)
"Everybody knows that the Raiders are built on speed, size and speed, That's just the Raiders. So, they're going to have the fastest guys on the field. But when it comes to (the Broncos) being on the field, it's all about discipline. I think that's one thing that we have. Now it's just time for us to go out there and show it." - Denver linebacker Joe Mays.
Notes and tips
Bettors are jumping all over the New England Patriots as they get set to open their season Monday night in Miami. As of Sunday night, more than 77 percent of Covers.com Consensus bettors were backing the Pats, who are now set around -7.5. The road team has covered in six of the last eight matchups between these two teams.
After it looked as though the MLB playoff races were all but decided last week, the action over the weekend changed a lot. The Tampa Bay Rays pulled off a sweep of the Red Sox to move within 3 ½ games of Boston in the AL Wild Card race and are set as a -125 favorite on the road as they open a series with the Orioles. In the NL, St. Louis swept Atlanta to pull within 4 ½ games of the Braves for the wild card. St. Louis is a -135 favorite at Pittsburgh Monday.
The San Diego Chargers pulled off a big comeback win Sunday against the Vikings but couldn’t get their supporters to the pay window as 9-point favorites. After the game they learned that they have lost defensive end Luis Castillo (broken leg) and kicker Nate Kaeding (torn ACL) for the season. The Chargers face a stiff test in Week 2 as they head to Foxboro for a date with the Patriots.
Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners (14-11, 3.15 ERA)
King Felix is on another one of his hot streaks, having won each of his last three starts while allowing just three runs over that span. He has struck out 26 batters during the streak and is coming off consecutive 2-1 wins. He went eight innings last week against the Angels before telling manager Eric Wedge he was done for the night.
"I can't lie, I was a little tired in the end,'' Hernandez told reporters. "He asked me. And I've got to be honest. I said 'I'm going to be honest, we've got to win this game.' ''
Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers (13-8, 4.87 ERA)
The Tigers have won four straight with Porcello on the mound and he has allowed just one run in two of his last three outings. Right now he really has his sinker going, which induced 13 ground-ball outs in a 10-1 win at Cleveland last week.
"He kept the ball on the ground, and that’s a big thing for him,” manager Jim Leyland said of Porcello.” That usually tells you that he’s got the ball darting around a little bit with pretty late movement and they’re mis-hitting the ball a little bit."
Dontrelle Willis, Cincinnati Reds (0-5, 4.21 ERA)
Willis heads into Monday’s tilt with the Cubs still searching for his first win of the season in his 12th start. Despite the winless drought, Willis hasn’t been terrible. His major issue lately is his control after walking five batters in each of his last three outings. Willis gave up all four runs in a 4-3 loss to the Cubs last week.
Chris Volstad, Florida Marlins (5-12, 5.37 ERA)
Volstad has dropped his last four decisions and the Marlins have lost each of his last trips to the hill, but he can’t take all the blame. The 6-foot-8 starter has allowed only two earned runs in each of his last two starts and hasn’t yielded more than four earned runs since a blowout loss to the Phillies in early July.