Covering the Spread (January 19-21, 2018)

Last Updated: 2018-01-19

Make no mistake about it, the Boston area will be taking center stage this weekend with UFC 220 slated for Saturday at TD Garden followed by the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars in nearby Foxborough on Sunday. UFC president Dana White, a well-known Boston sports fan, has scheduled a few cards in his hometown around this time of year so that he can likely be around the locals when the Patriots are playing in the AFC title game.

This is the seventh year in a row New England will be participating in the AFC Championship Game, with four of the previous six taking place at Gillette Stadium. Meanwhile, the UFC is in Boston for the fifth time overall and the third in four years when the Patriots have been going for a spot in the Super Bowl. Coincidence? I think not. Who cares, really? At least this looks like the best Boston card ever on paper, and hopefully it will not disappoint when heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic faces Francis Ngannou.

The big question is, does Miocic have a better chance of defending his title for the third time as an underdog, or does Jacksonville have a better shot at upsetting New England? While the Patriots are much bigger favorites on the moneyline, they do have home-field advantage and also share a common bond with Miocic as defending champions. Likewise, you can make an argument that Ngannou is similar to the Jaguars in the fact that he is physically more talented than his opponent despite inexperience.

So does a parlay of current champs Miocic and New England or challengers Ngannou and Jacksonville make more sense? What about taking both underdogs or both favorites together? No matter what you choose, this is exactly the type of degenerate bet I love the most because it involves wagering on multiple sports on different days and can be a lot of fun — as long as you cash.  Of course I plan on winning just like White plans on the Patriots being at U.S. Bank Stadium in two weeks for Super Bowl 52.

Sorry Dana, my money will be on the two challengers, with the hands of Ngannou and Tom Brady being the biggest stories of the weekend. That is, unless Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs of the Minnesota Vikings can repeat their miraculous game-winning play from last week on the road versus the Philadelphia Eagles and head home as NFC champions. For what it’s worth, I’ve got the underdog Eagles in that one too. Anyway, whatever you plan on betting, make sure to visit first!

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