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San Francisco will try to control this game with its running game and its defense. Kansas City, on the other hand, will just try to outscore the 49ers. Most importantly, though, as far as betting the total goes, this game looks like it should be close throughout, which leads us to think about the under. The two recent Super Bowls that played under were also close throughout, while several recent Super Bowls that played over did so in part because one team took a big lead, then let the other rally. We don't see that happening here. We're betting the under for Super Bowl LIV.
Anyone who is too sure-headed about this pick has likely missed the boat. It’s good to feel confident about your pick, but the tight point spread truly attests to a hard-to-pick game where any number of different eventualities are plausible. It’s hard to go against a Chiefs team that has won 8 straight games with the most bankable QB in the business. I just see the 49ers taking advantage of the Chiefs’ defense to a greater degree, with enough big plays from their own defense to secure the big Super Bowl win. I’ll take the Niners.
San Francisco is just the much more impressive team in this match-up. The 49ers own the better running game and the much better defense, and usually, that's enough for us right there. Also, of San Francisco's 14 wins this season, nine came by at least nine points. Meanwhile, Green Bay's been playing with fire all season long. It's almost hard to figure how the Packers have gotten this far. The 49ers might not win this one by 29 points, but eight would suffice. We like San Francisco here.
If a road-weary Titans team were to get slapped around on Sunday by a fresher Chiefs team that built up some momentum last week, it wouldn't be all that surprising. It still seems reasonable to perceive these teams as matching up pretty well against each other, where a somewhat evenly-contested game will ensue. It's hard not to be a little scared on either side of this coin, but I feel pretty good about getting this many points on Tennessee right now. I'll take the Titans.
These teams played a very close game the last time they met, and there's good reason to believe that will also be the case Sunday. And if that's the case, four points can be a lot. We're taking those points with Seattle.
Wild card win and first results against Kansas City aside, I think the Texans have exhausted the limitations of what they can do this season. The things that didn’t manifest defensively against Buffalo and their tepid offense will do so here and not in a good way for the Texans. The Chiefs have too much offense, and their improvements on the other side of the ball will help prevent Houston from keeping pace. I see a well-contested game opening up a bit, as KC gets the separation they need to notch the win and cover at home.
This is not a pick made without trepidation. A Baltimore backer should be rightfully concerned about Derrick Henry and the overall Titans' mojo, with a particular indefinable ability they possess to play over their heads. It just seems like their scope for real success is so narrow, whereas any version of a near-peak Ravens team could make this one ugly. In wagering, there often is little upside in buying into the hype. But sometimes a team comes along that makes it the right move. This week at least, I don't think being a Baltimore naysayer will pay off. I'm taking the Ravens.
The Vikings caught the Saints on an off-day last week; they're probably going to run into a fresh and fired-up 49ers outfit this week. And home teams own a pretty good recent track record in the divisional rounds of the NFL playoffs. Finally, we put a lot of betting credence in time of possession, and San Francisco gets the check-mark in that department. We're giving the points here with the 49ers.
New Orleans is just the better and more complete team here. The Saints own a solid advantage in the QB comparison and posted the better marks against common foes. Also, we put a lot of betting credence in time of possession. So despite home teams' recent struggles in wild-card games, we like New Orleans here, minus the points.
This is dangerous territory for the Pats, as no team goes on winning forever. And when it ends, it's always an upset in a spot where you didn't expect it to happen. With their passion and different assets, the Titans aren't an altogether bad candidate. I just see this game as being important to New England, as they will be eager to remind people they're still a significant threat in this setting. Their pass-defense will make some big plays, while not allowing Henry to run wild. And against this Tennessee "D," I see them getting some late separation for the win and cover in Foxborough.
Having points in a game where scoring might not be rampant is a good feeling. And while it may be true that neither team is going to go far in this postseason, the Bills appear to be the better team. They at least have one thing they do really well, which makes them more-bankable in this realm. With six wins away from home this season, the Bills have shown they can do what they do well on the road. I see them covering the spread this week in Houston.
San Francisco's recent form on defense suggests that maybe a home Seattle offense can make it work. They did last time, and it all wasn't Chris Carson making it happen. I sense that the setting and urgency will usurp any side-issues, with a well-contested game ensuing. Seattle’s recent defensive form notwithstanding, the home environment and urgency should give way to better form. It's a tough game to pick from a straight-up standpoint, and while the general optimism this week on San Francisco is understandable, I'm inclined to take the points on the home dog in this one.
The urge is to bet Tennessee. But the book knows that. So there is no real debate where the value lies. In a one-game window, it might not mean a whole lot. After all, Houston could have a semi phone-in here, and then the Titans could make all Houston backers look silly. The component of urgency is an angle that tends to be overplayed in week 17 games, and I see a close match where Tennessee might struggle to win, much less cover a number on the road. I'll go with Houston and take the points.
Seeing Dalvin Cook leave with a shoulder injury on Sunday might be cause for concern, but he is listed as probable. I still see their pep on offense being a determining factor in this game, and we might see a Green Bay defense that doesn't look as crisp as it has the last few weeks. After watching Green Bay give up over 300 to Mitch Trubisky previous week, I look for a big game from Cousins, as they cross the finish line a nose ahead on MNF. I'm taking the Vikes.
Dallas is supposedly the better team here, but can they be trusted? Color us dubious. And after last week's great effort against the Rams, the Cowboys are probably candidates for a letdown. Also, Prescott is banged up. Finally, after getting clobbered by Dallas earlier this season, Philly should be looking for payback. We're going with Eagles here.