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The big question any bettor has to ask themselves in this matchup is will the game be a case of “unfinished business” against “happy to be here” or can both teams play to the level of their capabilities. Atlanta can beat New England SU on a neutral field, but this works to really test your confidence level when it comes to the Falcons actually getting it done.
I will be the first one to admit just how stunned I was with how easy Atlanta disposed of Green Bay in the NFC Championship, but getting past New England with everything on the line is a whole other story. I decided to jump all over the Patriots as three point favorites in a spread that is very likely to widen two weeks from now when this game is actually played.
Pittsburgh had a hiccup after last week’s game as Brown took to social media in the latest rendition of, “Look at me, I’m a millennial!” HC Mike Tomlin has addressed that and don’t expect it to be a distraction this week. The Steelers are 7-1-1 ATS as a playoff road underdog but Brady is 15-3 SU at home in the playoffs. Something has to give and I think it will be the Patriots defense. Bell presents a unique challenge in that if you gang up on him, Brown can make you pay deep. Bell is also great as a receiver and Roethlisberger has been on this stage before and come through. New England made Texans’ QB Brock Osweiler look bad last week but he is no Roethlisberger. I feel Pittsburgh can keep this game close and stay within the number behind Bell and their playmaking defense.
This is a dream matchup between two of the top passing quarterbacks in the league. While it looks like Green Bay will still be without Nelson for Sunday afternoon, Rodgers has already proved that he can get the ball to a number of different targets. Atlanta does appear to be all that concerned about Jones’ foot injury, so its potent passing game should remain at full strength.
It is rare to see such a high total line (60 points) for a NFL game, but the bookmakers had to set it that high to try and move some money towards the UNDER. I am not biting on that one with a “best bet” play on the OVER all the way.
This game is yet another rematch as all 4 divisional encounters are rematches from earlier in the year. I dare say this Packers club is a much better group than the one Dallas saw several months ago. Rodgers is playing out of his mind while the defense has allowed an average of 18 ppg during their current 7-game winning streak. Green Bay has also played well against teams that qualified for the playoffs this season (5-1-1 ATS, their lone loss to Dallas) and has basically been playing playoff-calibre football for the last 2 months. The Cowboys were one of the 2 best teams in the NFL this season (along with the Patriots) and are looking to break a 20-year pattern of poor playoff performances (2-8 SU since 1996). Elliott and Prescott were spectacular during the season but they are still rookies and have had 2 weeks to think about this game. I don’t expect either player to be overcome with the jitters but playoff football is a different animal. I’m going to take the points and Rodgers and think Green Bay can keep this game close or win it outright.
Houston’s defense played well last week and set up the offense with advantageous field position. I think they can stay with the Patriots offense (to a degree) and will make Brady work for everything he gets. I don’t have confidence that Osweiler will be able to solve the New England defense and therefore believe the Under is the way to go in this one. The Texans have been under the number in their last 7 games and 9 of their last 10. Four of the last 6 Patriots games have also been under the number. I fully expect NE to win this game but 16 points scares me. I do like the fact that both defenses are amongst the league’s best and see them having a major say in how this game turns out.
Betting against Pittsburgh right now probably does not make all that much sense in the midst of this impressive winning streak, but Kansas City is not about to roll over and die this Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead. The Chiefs are also in excellent form and looking to advance to the conference title game following last season’s tight loss to New England in the Divisional Round.
This Sunday’s game remains too close to call in my book, but I do like the play on the UNDER with the total line sitting at 45. It is January in Kansas City and I think both defenses are going to elevate their play to keep this a low-scoring affair.
This NFL Divisional Round matchup comes down to Seattle’s shutdown defense going up against the most potent offensive attack in the league. Atlanta has the advantage with the fast track in front of the home-town crowd, but the Seahawks gain an important edge with their past experience in postseason play.
The line has already moved from 3.5 points to 4.5 points in Atlanta’s favor and that could make all the difference in the world in what I see as a very tight showdown between two of the top teams in the NFC. With the wider spread on the betting board, give me the points and Seahawks in what could easily be a three-point game either way.
Pittsburgh’s last 4 games have produced 47, 44, 58 and 51 points. While they can be explosive on offense, their defense can be beaten by good offenses. Miami’s last 6 games have produced an average of 50.5 ppg as their offense has continued to produce in the absence of Tannehill but their defense has also been susceptible to giving up their share of points. While I think the spread (10 points) may be a bit high, I think the Over is the way to go. Both teams have offensive weapons that can exploit their opponent’s defensive weaknesses and I expect a high-scoring affair at Heinz Filed this weekend.
Four of the past 5 games Seattle have played in reached 47 points or more as the defense has had trouble containing opposing offenses in the absence of Thomas. The Seahawks scored 24+ points in 4 of those games as their offense can still put up their share of points. Detroit’s last 2 games have produced 63 and 55 points as they had trouble with the Cowboys and Packers’ offenses. The Seahawks offense may be a step down in class from those 2 teams but with Wilson’s ability to scramble and make plays on the move, I expect them to give the Lions all they can handle. Conversely, I expect Stafford to move the ball through the air consistently against this defense. Seattle has lost 1 home game this season and has a 9-game home-winning streak going in the playoffs. Despite that, I’ll go with the Over in this one as I expect a spirited high-scoring affair between these 2 clubs.
It is easy to see why the total line for this game has been set so low given the dire situation at quarterback for both teams. I would still be tempted to go with the UNDER as a viable play in what will most likely be a four-quarter grinder that ends up getting decided by a field goal.
Even with Carr out of the lineup, I see Oakland as the better overall team in this matchup. The Raiders lack of experience in the postseason is somewhat of a concern, but Houston has hardly been a juggernaut in its past three appearances in the playoffs. Take the three points and take Oakland to cover in this one.
This is definitely the marquee matchup of the NFL’s Wild Card Round. The only bad part of this situation is that one of these teams will be eliminated since both have the ability to make a deep run this year. I also think that both of these quarterbacks will come to play this Sunday afternoon in a game that should remain highly entertaining for all four quarters.
It will be tough for the Giants to come away with the straight-up win in such a tough place to win in January, but I think it will be rather easy for both teams to score enough points to take the total well OVER the current 44.5-point betting line.
Both of these teams are out of contention but I expect a spirited affair this Sunday. Both of these defenses are reeling with injuries being the main culprit in Chicago and a disagreement over game plans being a problem in Minnesota. The Bears have placed an NFL-high 19 players on IR but are still competing. Barkley is relishing his chance to prove he is starter worthy and will want to make amends for last week’s showing. Bradford wants to set the completion record and while he does throw a lot of horizontal passes, he will want to repeat last week’s effort to show he is in his club’s plans for the future. The Vikings don’t run the ball very well so I expect Bradford to be firing the ball a lot this Sunday. Howard, despite his accomplishments, has been underutilized in almost every game. I expect him to have another productive day and for this game to go over the number.
The Cardinals’ last 8 games have all been scorefests, with 43 total points being the lowest combined total with 58.5 being the average. Palmer has started to play better recently and still may be in the team’s plans for 2017. He has a good assortment of weapons at his disposal and a do-everything RB behind him. The Rams have played in plenty of ‘Under’ games this year but has also been involved in 3 games in the past 5 weeks that totaled 43 points or higher. I feel Goff can do enough to get the offense into the end zone a few times and feel Arizona will do their best to finish the year on a high note. Therefore, I feel the ‘Over’ is the way to go in this game.
Denver’s locker room scuffle between the offense and defense from 2 weeks ago carried over into last week. The offense is rudderless right now and the defense is tiring from being on the field so long. The Raiders won’t want to put the game solely in McCloin’s hands so look for them to have 30+ rushing attempts in this game. Oakland still has a shot at the No.1 seed for the conference and won’t overlook the reeling Broncos. They are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 visits to the Mile High city and 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games away from home. Look for the Raiders’ o-line to be the star of the offense as they carve holes for 3 good RBs and protect McCloin (16 sacks allowed in ’16) so he can find wideouts Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. I look for the visitor to get a big win this week and claim their first AFC West title since 2002.
Green Bay has all the momentum in the world on its side against a Lions’ team looked very ordinary against the Cowboys on Monday night. Add in the fact that Rodgers is probably playing his best ball of the year and that makes it even harder for Detroit to bounce back on a short week.
This spread will probably continue to grow as we get closer to game time, so I am going to lock things up at Green Bay minus the 3.5 points as my “best bet” pick.
Carolina is still playing for a certain sense of pride, but that has not really been able to get it done lately. Tampa Bay has an outside shot at the last wild card spot in the NFC, but its play the past two weeks points to a team that is still not ready to take that next step.
The Buccaneers may be able to get the SU win at home to pull off the season sweep against their division rivals, but the “best bet” pick in this one is the UNDER on the current 46.5-point line. I see both defenses getting the best of each other’s struggling offense this Sunday in Tampa Bay.
New York cannot improve its playoff position with a victory on Sunday, but it would still love nothing better than to eliminate its division rival from the postseason, so look for a full four-quarter effort to win this game. The Redskins already won the first meeting this season on the road, so they should have the slight edge this time around on their home field.
Both teams have demonstrated to ability to move the ball quickly down the field when their quarterback gets hot. I think that Manning and Cousins are each set up to have a good day throwing the ball in a game that should go OVER the current 49-point line.
Even though the Lions appeared to be a lock to win the NFC North and are now left fighting for their playoff life, this is still one of the better balanced teams in the NFC. Head coach Jim Caldwell is already under fire, but I see his team rallying with a much better effort this week. The Cowboys may not even need this game if the Giants lose on Thursday night, so I would question their motivation level on Monday night.
I would think that Dallas still gets the SU win at home, but I honestly believe that the Lions will fight tooth and nail to keep things closer than seven points.
The Packers/Vikings rivalry is one for the ages and with the playoff implications on the lines here it is essentially a do-or-die situation for Minnesota. The Vikings have certainly appeared more human after being the NFL’s top team in the first half of the regular season. The Packers have won in four in a row as mentioned and with this portfolio of results comes a likely overreaction. When you toss in the narrative that the Packers get the Vikings at home in late December, nostalgia may actually steer the consensus. The Packers are known for a robust home field advantage at Lambeau Field. The Packers are a very tough team to beat in Green Bay this time of year and the market is basing itself around this scenario. Given the fact the Vikings were pummeled last week, while Green Bay extended their winning streak we have a typical buy-low sell-high situation. Minnesota can lose this game but still cover as the Packers are likely to implore an inflated number on any taker by virtue of their namesake alone. We will have no part of this and there is a reason why extra juice is required to take Minnesota against the spread. The books are banking on the Vikings covering and with that being said, we will go ahead and fade the public in this one.