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Falcons hold onto big lead for 1st win of season

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The Atlanta Falcons completed a week of new beginnings Sunday by taking a big lead — and holding it.

After jumping out to a 20-point halftime lead at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Falcons closed out their first victory of the season and trounced the Minnesota Vikings, 40-23. The performance made a winner out of interim coach Raheem Morris, who replaced the fired Dan Quinn earlier this week.

The Falcons entered the game without a win despite holding a 20-0 lead in one of their games (Week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys) and a 26-10 advantage in the fourth quarter of another (Week 3 against the Chicago Bears).

The firing of Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff initiated an organizational overhaul focused on the long-term future, but Sunday’s victory — albeit against the 1-5 Vikings — suggested the Falcons might still be competitive in 2020.

The Falcons scored 20 points in each half, enough to hold off a late run from the Vikings. Receiver Julio Jones returned to the lineup to spark the offense, hauling in eight receptions for 137 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. Quarterback Matt Ryan, meanwhile, threw a total of four touchdown passes while completing 30 of 40 passes for 371 yards.

More surprisingly, the Falcons defense clobbered the Vikings’ offense — and quarterback Kirk Cousins — in a stunning reversal of its play for most of this season. Entering the game, the Falcons’ defense had allowed the league’s highest Total Quarterback Rating to its opponents (81.8). It had managed only two interceptions and given up 15 touchdown passes, and not once had it shut out a team in a half of play.

Sunday, the Falcons shut out the Vikings in the first half in large part because they intercepted Cousins three times. In so doing, the Falcons avoided their first 0-6 start since 1996.

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Fury plans Dec. 5 fight in London; Wilder unlikely

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LONDON — WBC world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury said Saturday that he plans to fight in London on Dec. 5, but his opponent is unknown.

“I’d just like to announce I’m definitely fighting December the 5th in London. Opponent to be announced very, very soon,” Fury said in a video message posted on his social media accounts. “Just working on some opponents. Let you all know who it’s going to be shortly.” Fury and his co-promoter Frank Warren recently expressed doubt that a third fight with American Deontay Wilder would happen in 2020.

Fury claimed the WBC belt off Wilder with a seventh-round stoppage in February, after their draw in 2018.

A fight between undefeated Michael Conlan and former WBO junior featherweight champion Isaac Dogboe has been agreed upon for Dec. 5 at Royal Albert Hall in London. That fight is expected to be part of the Fury card, sources told ESPN’s Steve Kim.

The 32-year-old Fury announced in June that he had agreed to a two-fight deal with Anthony Joshua. The sides said that the first bout could take place sometime in 2021 in what would be an all-British showdown between the current holders of the heavyweight belts.

Joshua is scheduled to fight Kubrat Pulev on Dec. 12 at the O2 Arena in London. The fight was postponed from June because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Follow live: Ohio State opens Big Ten season vs. Nebraska

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first Quarter NEB OSU

TD

13:09

A. Martinez run for 10 yds for a TD, (C. Culp KICK)

4 plays, 75 yards, 1:51

7 0

TD

8:04

M. Teague III run for 1 yd for a TD, (B. Haubeil KICK)

11 plays, 75 yards, 5:05

7 7

TD

4:02

J. Fields pass,to G. Wilson for 42 yds for a TD, (B. Haubeil KICK)

6 plays, 76 yards, 2:18

7 14 second Quarter NEB OSU

TD

8:24

D. Mills run for 3 yds for a TD, (C. Culp KICK)

11 plays, 78 yards, 5:17

14 14

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Bettor wagers $8.6K to win $8.60 on Clemson

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No. 1 Clemson is expected to get past struggling Syracuse on Saturday rather handily, according to the betting odds.

The Tigers are favored by 46 points over the Orange, who suffered a 38-21 loss at home to Liberty last week, dropping them to 1-4. Clemson, on the other hand, is rolling at 5-0 and coming off a 73-7 beatdown of Georgia Tech. The Tigers are outscoring their opponents by an average of 36.6 points per game.

The odds on Clemson beating Syracuse straight up are so ridiculous that most sportsbooks aren’t offering a money-line price on the game. FanDuel, however, is, and has the Tigers listed at -100,000 to win outright, while Syracuse is +4,000 (40-1) to pull off the upset.

That’s right. If you want to bet on Clemson to beat Syracuse, you’d need to put up $1,000 to win $1 at FanDuel, one of the only U.S. sportsbooks to offer a money-line price on the seemingly lopsided matchup.

And someone did.

According to FanDuel, a bettor placed an $8,600 money-line bet on Clemson at -100,000 odds. If the Tigers prevail, the bettor will add $8.60 to his bankroll.

The largest bet on Syracuse was $50 at 40-1. As of Friday afternoon, there had been three times as many money-line bets on the Orange as there were on Clemson, but the Tigers had attracted 92% of the money, thanks primarily to the $8,600 wager.

“Obviously, the probability of Clemson winning the game is huge, but people want to have a bet on what would be one of the greatest upsets in college football,” John Sheeran, FanDuel’s sportsbook director, told ESPN.

The point spread, at Clemson -46, is the largest line on an ACC game since Florida State was a 48-point favorite over Wake Forest in 2000. The money-line price is among the largest ever posted by a U.S. sportsbook as well.

Even the sportsbook at South Point casino and hotel in Las Vegas, which has been known to put up money-line prices on big college football favorites in the past, chose to hold off on the Syracuse-Clemson game.

“This one’s just too big,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said.

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