NFL Playoff Picks: 10 Postseason Teams That Will Become Bettors' Best Friends
The Green Bay Packers are the odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl, but putting your money on the Packers won't win you bags full of cash. Betting on the right team in the right matchup could help you beat the house and take some money from Vegas.
The Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans are all teams to keep an eye on regardless of the matchup. Several matchup possibilities could take place that create an advantageous scenario for bettors.
Betting on the right team, against a high or low spread or historical anomaly, could be the difference between winning and losing your bet. The playoffs are a different beast, and anything is possible.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
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The spread for this game is -8 or -9 depending on which betting house you look at. The Denver Broncos have been beaten in their last three games of the regular season as they fell face first into the playoffs.
However, this could be a tricky game for the 12-4 Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh lost their starting running back in Rashard Mendenhall last week, and Ben Roethlisberger remains banged up with an aggravating ankle injury.
Teams have figured out how to hold Tim Tebow and the Denver option attack to a minimum in the past month. To think the Steelers defense couldn't continue that trend is asinine.
The question is whether or not the Steelers offense can pick itself up on the road. Sports Authority Stadium will be in a frenzy, and Denver's defense will try to limit the Steelers in hopes that they can provide their offense with a chance to win it at the end of the game.
Take the -8 or -9 spread if you're feeling righteous. Pittsburgh may have a difficult time covering.
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
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The New Orleans Saints will host the dangerous No. 6 seed Detroit Lions. The two teams faced off during the regular season in Week 13. New Orleans came out victorious with a 31-17 win over Detroit.
The scoreline for that game can be a bit misleading. Betting houses have the Saints at -10.5 or -11, with the over/under being 58.5 or 59.
Detroit had spotted the Saints a 24-7 lead at halftime during their previous meeting. After being in such a large hole, the Lions woke up in the third quarter to make it a competitive game.
Detroit led in most statistical categories. They had 466 yards on offense; time of possession was 35:06 and penalty yards were 107.
New Orleans is undefeated in the Superdome, but not invincible. Detroit could be a bettor's dream if they can limit their penalties, turnovers and the Saints from jumping out to a big lead early.
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
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The Cincinnati Bengals will travel to face the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium as Houston hosts its first playoff game ever. Houston has stumbled into the playoffs, losing their last three regular season games.
Whether it's T.J. Yates or Jake Delhomme, the Texans need their running game and defense to continue supporting their cause. Cincinnati, on the other hand, will be led by their rookie duo in Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.
The over/under for this game has been set at 38. Houston averages 23.8 points and Cincinnati averages 21.5 points. Simple math will tell you that based on their averages alone, they should be over 38 points.
When the two teams played in Week 14, they combined for a total of 39 points, but that was in the cold weather of Cincinnati. Playing in the controlled environment at Reliant Stadium should allow both offenses to perform at a higher level.
Take the over.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
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Yes, I'm aware that the Detroit Lions lost both games to the Green Bay Packers. And yes, I'm also cognizant of the fact that Matt Flynn made people in Green Bay forget about Aaron Rodgers for four hours with his performance against Detroit in Week 17.
My sole argument is this: It's difficult to beat anyone three times in one season in the NFL. I don't care how good you are—Green Bay is as good as they come at this stage of the season—or how badly you beat them.
Facing a divisional opponent three times in a row is no easy task. You can rest assured that Green Bay will be favored in this game and that the points spread will likely be around -7.
If the Lions can beat the New Orleans Saints at home, they'll travel to Wisconsin with a ton of momentum and confidence, which is invaluable during the postseason.
New York Giants at San Francisco
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The New York Giants have been in playoff mode since Week 16, when they faced their crosstown rivals the New York Jets. New York then beat the Dallas Cowboys at home rather convincingly in a win-or-stay-home game to decide who will win the NFC East and host a playoff game.
New York could travel back to San Francisco for a rematch with the San Francisco 49ers if the Detroit Lions beat the New Orleans Saints.
San Francisco outlasted New York, 27-20, in an entertaining matchup during Week 10. However, that was the second week of November, and this will take place in the second week of January.
The 49ers haven't really changed all that much since their first encounter. New York has.
The Giants seemed to have turned on a switch in the past two weeks and could be looking to make a playoff run similar to their 2007 Super Bowl run. Eli Manning is enjoying one of the best years of his career and is more than capable of beating the 49ers defense.
New York could be a dark horse that's worth betting on. After all, it wouldn't be the first time they've pulled a feat like this off.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
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Originally, I wasn't going to include this game in the mix. The New York Giants have been impressive the last two weeks at the New Meadowlands, and the Atlanta Falcons are a dome team.
Then I realized that the Atlanta Falcons are the perfect team for a bettor to ride to victory. Until you saw this slide, you may not have known they were even in the playoffs.
No one—and I mean no one—is talking about the Atlanta Falcons leading up to this weekend's wild card games. Things couldn't be more ideal if you were with the Falcons.
The spread is -3 for the New York Giants, and the over/under is 47 or 47.5, depending on who you look at. On the surface, there doesn't seem to be much wiggle room for bettors.
I would argue to take the under on this one. It's suppose to be in the 40's and raining Sunday afternoon when the game starts. Not ideal conditions for either team, but the sleeper pick of the playoffs could very well be the Falcons, which starts with the Giants.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
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Similar to the Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Baltimore Ravens present an interesting opportunity.
The Steelers and Ravens are definitely closer in terms of talent compared to the Lions and Packers and share the same regular season record. However, the Ravens managed to beat the Steelers twice during the regular season.
Baltimore should be the favorite going into this game, and rightfully so. Baltimore have played up to their better opponents and down to their lesser opponents throughout the year. Their inconsistency has caused doubts in the minds of bettors throughout the country.
Although, this is the Pittsburgh Steelers we're talking about and not the Seattle Seahawks.
The line for this game should be close, but Vegas might opt to place Pittsburgh as the favorites. The Steelers have won all three postseason meetings between the two teams, all of which were in Pittsburgh.
If Baltimore is the underdog or the point spread is more than +/- 3, take the Ravens.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots
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Who will win this game is pretty much a coin flip. What I want to focus on is the possible over/under and the points spread.
It's pretty cut and dry for me. If the points spread is +/- 6 or below, take it. These two teams will be close for awhile, but one of them will pull away in the fourth quarter.
If the over/under is 50 points or less, take that too. The New England Patriots alone will likely score 40 points or more. The Pittsburgh Steelers shouldn't have a problem scoring either against the awful New England defense.
Seriously, if the over/under was 65, I'd probably advise taking the over on that as well.
San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers
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If you haven't read any of my previous playoff pieces, shame on you. If you have, you know that I'm rooting for two things: 1) San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers and 2) a Harbaugh Super Bowl.
The San Francisco-Green Bay game will easily be the best game of the year. It's two different football philosophies that have both excelled meeting for a chance to play in the Super Bowl.
Many will shrug off the 49ers because of Alex Smith and still think they aren't worthy of their record, which is fine and dandy. These same people forget that defense win championships, which is something the 2011 Green Bay Packers are missing.
The points spread will likely be low and the over/under may not be worth the risk. Just take the 49ers straight up.
The Green Bay Packers will be meeting their kryptonite.
Baltimore Ravens at San Francisco 49ers
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Ah, the Super Bowl pick is here. Bettors love the Super Bowl. You can seriously bet on anything, including the coin toss.
Tails never fails.
The San Francisco 49ers will be the home team for this Harbaugh family affair due to their record. Don't let that fool you.
San Francisco has an outstanding defense and an offense that produces what is needed from them. Baltimore is similar. Shut-down defense, Pro Bowl running back and good-not-great quarterback describes either team.
Except that Baltimore has more talent on the offensive side of the ball. They are capable of exploding for 30-plus points.
The points spread will likely be fairly close, and the over/under shouldn't exceed 40 points. Take the over if that's the case and bet against the spread.
Baltimore plays up to their opponents, and there's no other opponent that Jim Harbaugh will have his team more ready to play against. It's likely the last chance Ray Lewis and several others will have to bring home a second Lombardi Trophy.
Take the Ravens.