5-3 last week and won my biggest bet of the weekend with the NY Giants. Felt I lost a tough one with the Lions who were getting 10.5 and winning at halftime but that is the chance you take going against the New Orleans Saints.
Finally, I completely whiffed on the most exciting playoff win of all-time by a preseason 4th string quarterback by taking the Steelers against Denver. What can I say? When you are a fan of a team no matter how hard you try, it’s difficult to be objective and not get too high or too low based on your feelings at that time.
The Divisional round is historically where the bye teams are always the favorite and they usually have a winning ATS. However, in the past 5 or 6 years, winning on the road has become more prevalent as at least one team has won each of those years. All but one year, it has been two road teams advancing. Just last season, we lost both #1 seeds in the Divisional round.
BALTIMORE -9 vs Houston – I had this game circled from the start. This is how it sets up to me. A rested, under the radar team that plays great defense, can run the ball and has a decent passing game against a rookie QB, a team playing it’s first playoff road game after winning the first road game of its franchise, and a defense that is good but not great. Yes, the Texans can run the ball but if they get down this game will get out of control quickly. This line screams “Hey, Texans won last week and they are getting 9 points so everyone take the Texans!” In fact, they are a public underdog thus far and a popular talking heads pick. Trust them if you want, but not I.
Baltimore/Houston UNDER 36 – This is low but with good reason. Baltimore would be happy winning 3-0. Houston knows it’s only shot is to never stop running the ball and short, low-risk throws. I see this as a 20-6 type ballgame and will need defensive turnovers or special teams scores to push it over.
NY GIANTS +8 @ Green Bay – NY is a public dog this week as well. However, unlike Houston I think they will keep it close for the following reasons. They aren’t scared to go into Green Bay. They are an outdoor team. They have the best pass rushers left in the playoffs. They have a better running game and defense than their opponent. If needed, they have a high-powered aerial attack. Green Bay is an awesome team but I can’t lay the points with them knowing they don’t run the ball or have a defense that can stop the other team. I hate giving my money to Eli but it’s the right play this week.
NY Giants/Green Bay UNDER 52.5 – This weekend will lend itself to UNDERS (I’m hoping) and my reason for this game is the Giants understand to have a chance they need to shorten the game. They have the running game to make that happen. I also believe their defense will stop GB enough to stall some drives. Again, I’m making UNDER my plays this week so wish me luck!
SAN FRANCISCO +3.5 vs New Orleans – Getting controversial by going against a Saints team that has all been placed in the championship game versus the Packers. Here’s the beauty of this pick – the Saints can still win. I can’t, I just can’t pass on a team that had a bye getting over a field goal at home that has the better defense and running game. Never going to happen. Personally, I do hope the Saint’s win but there is no denying the fact they are different on the road. Harbaugh has a chance to show everyone he is a genius with a game plan to slow down the greatest offense ever. If not, San Fran can go back to being an afterthought like they were all season anyway. Also, the Saint’s are the #1 consensus play of the weekend.
San Francisco/New Orleans UNDER 47 – Simple logic really. If I believe the Niners will slow down the Saints to keep the game within three then the game must go UNDER. There is no way they will win or be close in a shootout. Much like the Giants game plan, they will run the football and shorten the game. If you take the Saints, then by all means I urge you to take the OVER.
DENVER +13.5 @ New England – My first inclination was going to be take the Patriots because if the blowout didn’t come last week, then it’s coming this week. However, my research showed me several things. The Broncos have the better defense in this game and the better pass rush. The Broncos have the better running game. This line is begging for Denver money though and that worries me. If Denver can get some pressure on Brady every now and then and force some 3 and outs, they will stay close. Much like last week, some things are a leap of faith and don’t need statistics backing it up.
Denver/New England OVER 50 – I believe New England gets at least 30 points in this game. I say that as someone who just recommended Denver. I see a 33-21 type game. Denver learned last week that it is got to make big plays in the passing game and that should help their running game this week. Regardless, I’m really looking forward to this weekend and especially Saturday’s slate of games. Enjoy it, because after this weekend it’s all downhill.